Greek Chicken Meatballs and Yogurt Dill Sauce

Serves: 4 

By Nat Beerworth

Rob didn’t read this recipe correctly and so served us up about 1,000 calories each. We were both keeled over from being so full, marveling at our shrunken stomachs and how little we need (on day 3 of diet) to get full. Then I read the actual recipe and realised we had been served enough for a small family per person.

Regardless it is a great dish. I have adjusted the numbers so you don’t need to worry about blowing the calories when you make this.

I am a dill lover, hopefully you are too.

Ingredients

500g lean ground chicken
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup whole grain panko
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped red onions
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sauce
3/4 cups plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup finely chopped dill
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
To serve
1 cucumber, cut into thick slices, quartered
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley or dill for garnish

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients for meatballs, with the exception of olive oil, in a bowl and mix, using hands is best. Form into 16 small meatballs.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat, add meatballs and cook through and brown on both sides. Meatballs may need to be made in two batches, depending on skillet size.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together all ingredients for sauce. Add meatballs to a platter with crumbled feta and cucumber pieces to serve. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or dill.
  4. Serve sauce on the side or spoon over meatballs.

Yields: 16 meatballs | Serving Size: 4 meatballs | Calories: 320

 

Big veal, pork and prosciutto meatballs with Parmesan polenta

Serves: 6

These are the best meatballs either Nat or I have ever had.

Not only that, there is an agreeable distance between these meatballs and whatever is in second place.

I am not kidding.

These made us so happy and I think there are a few things that contributed to the success.

The original recipe was from Gourmet Traveller though we made a number of tactical (and genius in my opinion!) changes, both to method and ingredients.

If you served these at a dinner party, everyone – everyone – would pin you down al la Paul Newman when his friends locked him in his garage and made him make a barrel of his famous salad dressing.

If you served this at your restaurant, people would say, “Oh, you have to go to Lucio’s and try his big meatballs. They are incredible. They are equal in genius to Paul Newman’s salad dressing and I think it’s because Lucio uses 75/25% veal and pork mince.”

Get started today, let your mince combine in the fridge for 48 hours and open your own Lucio’s for the night!

Ingredients

Sauce

800gm diced, canned tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped mixed sage and oregano plus extra to serve
150ml red wine (leaving 600ml for you)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Torn mozzarella plus extra to serve

Polenta

1 cup milk plus extra as you go
1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup polenta
50gm Parmesan, finely grated plus extra to serve
50gm butter, cubed and room temperature
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Meatballs

750gm veal mince
250gm pork mince
160gm Parmesan, finely grated
120gm coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs
3 tbsp finely chopped mixed sage and oregano
8 thin prosciutto slices
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. 24 – 48 hours before cooking, combine the meatball mixture except the prosciutto slices and olive oil. Mix well and refrigerate.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions for 8 minutes or until soft and starting to golden. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 5 minutes, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the chopped herbs and cook for 30 seconds and then add the diced tomatoes and red wine. Simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, commence the polenta: in a saucepan, bring the milk and stock to the point of scalding though not boiling. Slowly whisk in the polenta and keep whisking for 45 – 60 minutes, adding small amounts of milk as need be, until the polenta is no grainy and you have a thick polenta mixture.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and butter, checking for seasoning. Set aside.
  5. While the polenta is cooking, divide the mince into eight and roll into large meatballs. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each.
  6. Heat olive oil over a medium-high heat and cook the meatballs on each side, making an effort to cook and caramelise the prosciutto: around 10 minutes. Transfer to the pan with the tomato mixture, turning occasionally until cooked through. 5 minutes before serving, drop some of the torn mozzarella into the sauce to melt.
  7. To serve, dollop some polenta onto your plates. Ladle a meatball on top with sauce. Sprinkle chopped herbs, grated Parmesan and torn mozzarella on top and serve.

Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves: 4

I’m not sure how you couldn’t love meatballs and I’m especially unsure how you couldn’t love these ones: with the herbs, the cheeses, the pine nuts (and some extra pistachios we added) and more grated Parmesan to serve, they’re awesome.

Prepare the meat mixture in the morning, head out to lunch and come Saturday night, open a bottle of red, put some music on and enjoy some truly excellent meatballs and sauce.

Seriously, they’re excellent.

Ingredients

3/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
40gm parsley, roughly chopped
5g basil or rosemary, roughly chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra to serve)
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 egg
500gm minced pork or beef

Sauce

2 x 400gm tinned tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine

Method

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and cook the onion and pine nuts over a low heat until the onion is soft and the pine nuts are golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more and then set aside to cool.
  2. Put the herbs, fennel seeds, breadcrumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and egg in a bowl and add the mince. Add the cooled onion mixture, season well with salt and freshly cracked pepper and mix until all the ingredients are combined. Set aside the mixture to rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Roll the meatballs about the size of a walnut and flatten slightly to make it easier to cook on both sides.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the meatballs until golden on both sides; do two batches if necessary in order to avoid overcrowding. Remove and set aside.
  5. For the sauce: Add the tinned tomatoes and wine to the saucepan over a medium heat, breaking up the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently add the meatballs to the sauce and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with a good sprinkling of Parmesan and some fresh basil leaves.

Sticky Asian Meatballs

Serves: 4 – 6

This David Herbert number is as simple as it is wonderful.

And it is pretty simple.

We also sauteed some bok choy with chilli sauce, black bean, sesame oil and soy and all together, it was a hit.

Even the boys loved it.

It is a departure from our Sunday tradition of cooking all afternoon, though it’s a departure I am happy to live with after an especially busy weekend.

Ingredients

1kg pork mince
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Steamed jasmine rice to serve

For the sauce
⅔ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into balls, place on a tray and roast for 20 minutes, turning once.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk sauce ingredients together.
  4. Serve the meatballs on rice, pour over the sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Spaghetti & Meatballs #3

Spaghetti & Meatballs #3

Serves:8 – 10

When we asked Oliver what he wanted to eat for dinner on his 9th birthday, I’d hoped he would say a veritable Greek feast complete with a BBQed leg of lamb, marinated in red wine, lemon juice, oregano and olive oil; or Zha Jiang Mian, a dish otherwise known as Chinese Bolognese with a touch of salt or sweet.

Or a burger he had never tried, a salmon Wellington, a bowl of coco pops, a more interesting take on meatballs.

Anything… but spaghetti and meatballs.

Because it isn’t that I don’t love a good spaghetti and meatballs.

It is just that this is the third recipe I have typed up on account of spaghetti and meatballs being his favourite dish. And on account that I am always wanting to try new recipes.

Dilemma, though the kid wants meatballs, then meatballs he will have.

This is another great recipe, tried and tested on Oliver and his brother Thomas who gave it a glowing review. They prefer shaved cheddar to Parmesan and hold the parsley, though otherwise, this hit the birthday-dinner spot and is definitely a comfort-food, no-friends-lost dinner you should try.

Plenty of time for lobster tet-a-tet on the weekend I guess. When it is meatballs time, best do them right.

Ingredients

Meatballs

8 good-quality pork sausages
1 kg beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
½ a large bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
85gm Parmesan, grated
100gm fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten with a fork

Olive oil
Spaghetto to serve

Sauce

3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 x 400gm cans chopped tomato
125ml red wine
3 tbsp caster sugar
½ a large bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
A few basil leaves

Method

Meatballs

  1. Heat the oven to 200c.
  2. Split the sausage skins and squeeze out the meat into a large bowl. Add the mince, onion, parsley, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, beaten eggs and season well. Mix together well.
  3. Roll the mince mixture into golf-balls. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread out the meatballs. Drizzle with a little olive oil, shake to coat and roast for about 20 – 30 minutes until browned.

Sauce

  1. Cook the spaghetti.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, sugar, parsley and season well. Simmer for 20 minutes or more until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the basil leaves.
  4. Spoon the sauce over the spaghetti, combine slowly and add extra Parmesan and basil leaves.

Penne with meatballs and fresh tomato sauce

Serves: 4

I cooked a great Donna Hay spaghetti and meatball recipe a while ago. 

Though those meatballs didn’t get the tick of approval from the boys (8 and 5) simply because they were gone before the boys could get there hands on them. Given the target market for such a dish, getting such approval could be an important thing for you.

And so here is Neil Perry’s take on a classic. And classic it is.

There is nothing controversial about it and that is why the boys wolfed it down.

It is simply classic spaghetti and meatballs, a version so literally classic, that it’s great.

Sometimes, you don’t need to be fancy to be fancy.

Ingredients

25g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
350g minced pork
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of chopped thyme
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, plus extra
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g penne

Tomato sauce

60ml extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 anchovies
½ tsp chilli flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1kg vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and roughly chopped

Method

  1. For the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a heavy pan. Add the garlic anchovies, chilli and a pinch of salt and cook over a low-heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  2. For the meatballs, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until soft and then mash with a fork.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in small saucepan over a low heat. Cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place the pork, soaked bread, onion mix, parsley, thyme, tomato paste, 1 tbsp grated parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well so the mixture holds together. Form into small balls.
  5. Drizzle some oil in a heavy-based fry pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce to heat through.
  6. Cook the penne. Add the penne to the tomato sauce and meatballs and toss gently to coat. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with parmesan and a generous grind of pepper.

Donna Hay’s classic spaghetti and meatballs

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Yes, they are not cooked at this point.

Serves: 4 – 6

Nat and I don’t have nearly as many long, liquid lunches as we would like to.

But on occasions, the stars align and there we are, contemplating a third dessert whilst working our way through the cheese plate and a fancy red of some description.

Cooking and eating pasta is also about a rare as these long lunch occasions.

And that’s because the two are linked.

For you should only eat pasta when nothing else will do.

And nothing else will do than pasta after a long lunch and a few bottles of vino.

And so here we were, a long lunch at Gowings completed and ready for our pasta hit.

Enjoy this one. It is everything you’ll want and nothing you won’t. Just make sure you make it in advance like I did.

Ingredients

1½ c fresh white breadcrumbs
½ c milk
500g veal (or beef) mince
500g pork mince
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ c sage leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, extra, crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 c (250ml) beef stock
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
¼ c thyme leaves, chopped
500g spaghetti
1 c basil leaves
Finely grated parmesan, to serve

Method

  1. Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add the beef and pork mince, eggs, garlic, sage, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Using wet hands, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep, large frying pan over high heat. Cook the meatballs in batches, turning frequently, for 4–5 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5–7 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper, stir to combine and bring to the boil.
  5. Add the meatballs and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and the meatballs are cooked through.
  6. While the meatballs are cooking, place the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for 8–10 minutes or until al dente.
  7. Drain and serve the spaghetti topped with the meatballs, basil leaves and parmesan.