I generally view meatballs with the same degree of mistrust I reserve for sausages and pies. Unless you’ve made them yourself, you really can’t be sure of their lineage. And even if you have made them yourself, mince is an inherently suspicious ingredient.
Mystery meatballs contain an extra level of excitement for those of us who have common food intolerances, as they are frequently contain surprise onion and are bulked up with bread or breadcrumbs. My one and only experience with being sucked into the apparently savvy financial decision to dine on IKEA meatballs resulted in me having to shuffle through the rest of the
labyrinth store with unbuttoned jeans, bemoaning my decision and the consequently crippling indigestion.
When I came across a meatball recipe by Perth’s upmarket version of Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, Vince Garreffa, I thought it was worth reassessing my meatball suspicion. Vince’s recipe contains no wheaty fillers, and uses a variety of spices to add flavour instead of chucking in an onion or the more insidious onion powder. I changed a few things to suit my dietary quirks and what I had in the pantry, as you’ll see in my notes below.
Served with mashed cauliflower and steamed greens, this went down a treat on an exciting Saturday evening spent watching BBC crime drama. I will be definitely making this recipe again to use up the spare mince that is now inhabiting my freezer, before it beguiles the more upstanding meat products it’s sharing shelf space with.
(my slightly adapted version of Vince Garreffa’s recipe)
- 250 g minced pork
- 250 g minced beef
- 2 big garlic cloves, minced/chopped
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder, depending on heat preference
- 1 egg
- good pinch of salt
- Coconut flour
- 50 mL coconut oil
- 1 spanish onion, finely chopped (I used half a small brown onion, chopped coarsely so I could avoid it when serving my share. I am sure you could omit it entirely)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced/chopped
- 2 Tb tomato paste
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (I used Ardmona tomatoes with paste and mixed herbs, as it’s what I had to hand)
- 250 mL chicken stock (I used one full Continental chicken stock pot, and 250 mL water – note that these stock pots aren’t gluten-free, so use proper stock if you can’t handle trace amounts of wheat)
- 100 g frozen peas
- Pinch of chilli powder (I omitted)
- Flat leaf parsley to garnish (I omitted, ours has all gone to seed)
- Make the meatballs by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Mix as though you are kneading bread until the mix has become nice and sticky (a long time) and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes while you cook the sauce. (NOTE: I definitely didn’t enter “long time” territory with my kneading, but please feel free to work those proteins to the best ability of your shoulders).
- Put the coconut oil in a frypan or saucepan large enough to hold the meatballs and sauce. Heat the pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and peas, cooking and mixing for 10 minutes before putting on a lid and taking the pan off the heat.
- Roll your meatballs by hand, lightly dusting each with the coconut flour. Use a hot frying pan and some more coconut oil to brown off the outside of the meatballs. Once all browned, add them to the pan of sauce (add extra chilli powder to sauce now if you like), return it to the heat and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Cut a meatball in half to check they’re cooked through before serving.
- I served this with mashed cauliflower and steamed greens. A+ would pair again.