Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Meatballs in a sweet, sour & spicy tomato sauce.

I fancied a change from the usual meatballs with pasta which is one of my go to mid-week meals. The thing is with my relationship with mince, I usually make the same fare with mince: meatballs, in-authentic spag bol  and chilli con carne. This is despite having a cookbook dedicated to mince. This is meatballs, but not as you know it. Seasoned with intense Middle Eastern spice and a lovely combination of beef and mince meatballs. I was a bit hesitant and apprehensive what the sour flavours would be like, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you think of sweet and sour of a well-known takeaway dish, but more sour and with a little more heat. I decided on serving this with bulgar wheat, hummus and za'tar roasted vegetables.





For the meatballs 
250g minced lamb
250g minced beef
1 large onion, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated or finely chopped
30g breadcrumbs
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 tsp chili flakes or cayenne pepper
1 tsp harissa paste
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch of white pepper
a pinch of ground cinnamon



For the sauce
2tbsp olive oil
the rest of the head of garlic, peeled and chopped (about 30g)
5 tbsp tomato puree (about 80g)
1 tsp harrisa paste
1 tsp smoky paprika
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp demerara sugar
2 strips of lemon (use a peeler)
100ml lemon juice
750ml water
2 large pears, cut in thick wedges, seeds removed but skin on.

Method
Heat your oven to 200C/180C/Gas Mark 6
Mix all the meatballs ingredients together in a large bowl and form into twelve balls of roughly 50g each. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, put the olive oil, chopped garlic and salt in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring all the while, until a strong garlicky smell emerges and the garlic begins to stick to the pan (it should not colour). Add the tomato puree, harissa, spices, bay leaves, sugar and lemon skin and mix well. Keep stirring and cooking until everything begins to stick to the bottom of the pan again (about 4-5 minutes), then stir in the lemon juice and bring to the boil.
By now your meatballs should be just about ready to jump into the sauce. Tip them in along with all the juices that have come out of them - there's tons of flavours there. Bring the sauce to the boil again, then reduce the heat to a minimum, cover and leave to cook slowly for an hour. If you using pears, add them now. Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat without the lid in order to reduce the liquid slightly - when it's ready, the sauce should resemble a thick soup.
Serve with white rice

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