Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Friday, 13 January 2012

Definitely the first, but probably not the last, meatballs of the year! Spicy pork (or chicken) meatballs with pasta.

Lola and Finn (and Phill) love meatballs. There is no getting away from it and it is as much of a constant as the sun rising at the beginning of the day and setting at the end of the day. For this reason, I do like to find different ways of doing them, just to keep me interested if nothing else. I also like to experiment with differing meats and try to find a lighter alternative to the ubiquitous minced lamb or beef. So it was with interest and anticipation when I saw this super recipe from Bill Granger's lovely cookbook 'Every Day' and discovered that the meat of choice was minced chicken. Great. But I didn't have any. I did, however have minced pork and decided that a little experimentation was in order.

One of the many things I like about the recipe is that the meatballs are baked. No frying and splattering your pristine kitchen with dots of oil. It is also quite pleasing to see the fat running away from the meatballs as they are baked, thus convincing me that these lovely spheres might be quite healthy in the meatball scheme of things. Bill Granger recommends wholewheat fusilli to accompany the meatballs which is a healthy step too far for me. Bletch. Normal pasta is 'de rigeur' chez Lola and Finn's mum.

Because of the dislike of real tomatoes by some of our number, I halved the quantity of cherry tomatoes when I initially made the meal. It was a mistake and in future, I will use the recommended amount. The tomatoes sort of dissolve slightly into the chicken stock making them not so obviously ''tomatoey'.

Spicy Pork (or chicken) Meatballs, adapted from Bill Granger's 'Every Day'.
Serves 4, or a hungry dad, mum, Lola and Finn.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
500g pork mince, or chicken mince
3 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
(50g pancetta, chopped - I omitted this as I was using pork)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
125ml chicken stock

And to serve:
500g pasta shapes (fusilli is good!), cooked
Parmesan shavings


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F / Gas 6).

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Add the coriander and chilli and cook for 1 minute.

Put the mince in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, parsley and salt. Add the spiced onion and mix well with your hands.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the mixture.

Wet your hands with cold water to stop the mixture sticking and roll into small meatballs. The mix will be a bit dry so you may have to squish the mixture a little whilst you roll it into balls.

Put the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put the meatballs on a second lined tray and drizzle with the remaining oil.

Roast the tomatoes and meatballs in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the meatballs are golden and the tomatoes start to pucker.

Put the stock and tomatoes in a saucepan and add the the meatballs.

Simmer for 5 minutes and season to taste before spooning over pasta and serving with parmesan shavings.

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