Mum's meatballs

by Fiona Smith | Cuisine issue #153
Serves: 8This recipe has always been one of my favourites - it's from the Prestcold freezer book that my mother wrote in the 1970s.

The meatballs and sauce (without the sour cream) freeze well so you can always freeze half for another time. Here I’ve served them with pasta but they also go well with rice, mashed potato or noodles.

500g prime beef mince
500g pork mince (or half veal half pork)
1 small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup milk
1@1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
500ml (700g bottle) tomato passata
2 green capsicums, deseeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 cup sour cream
hot al dente pasta and chopped
flat-leafed parsley to serve

Put the beef and pork mince in a bowl, along with the onion, garlic, lemon zest, Worcestershire, egg, milk, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until smooth and well combined.

Using wet hands, roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Chill until needed (you can make these a day in advance then cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container with baking paper between each layer).

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the tomato passata and the capsicum. Season with salt then simmer for 25 minutes (the mixture will bubble so cover with a splatter guard if you have one).

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and a further 1 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs, in batches, until browned, rolling them around the pan as they cook and adding more butter and oil as you need it. Keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remainder.

Just before serving, stir the sour cream into the tomato sauce then pour it over the meatballs (return the pre-cooked ones to the pan), mixing in all the frying pan scrapings and heating the mixture through. Serve on pasta, sprinkled with parsley.

Wine - A lithe, aromatic Hawke’s Bay syrah.

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