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.

Roast Fillet of Veal in Parmesean Crust

Serves 4

This is a really special dish.

I found it in Delicious magazine; the recipe is by Orlando Murrin, a British cook and food writer who spent years in south-west France running a guest house and cooking.

I served the veal with Pommes Dauphinoise, and it was the wicked combination of the veal itself, the veal stock and wild mushrooms and the amazing baked potatoes that pushed the meal into the memory category. I just love veal, and the crust kept it moist and beautifully tender right through to serving.

At the time of cooking this, I had only very rarely cooked with veal stock and hours before starting, I ran into a culinary wall – I certainly hadn’t made my own veal stock, I couldn’t find any at the butchers I visited and all I had was Veal Glaze, a serious reduction of veal stock, with nothing of the consistency of the stock I needed.

My good friend and chef Benjamin came through and I provide the following advice, if only because the web is surprisingly murky on the ropic of veal glaze, and in fact several people said it was not possible to reverse the glaze into stock!

On the basis I needed 425ml stock, I made a cup (250ml) of half beef, half chicken stock and the rest, glaze; around half stock, half glaze. Ben was completely right; the glaze doesn’t overpower despite what you might think, and really just softens the beef stock.

I’ll probably make veal stock next time; everyone online raves about it, and apparently Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry restaurant fame) does an extraordinary interpretation worth every hour it takes.

Ingredients

For the veal

750g fillet of veal
1 egg, beaten
2 anchovy fillets, mashed
1 garlic clove, crushes
1 2/3 cups (120g) fine fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup (25g) grated parmesean

Wild Mushroom Sauce

175g mixed mushrooms (such as Swiss brown, chestnut and field) – I roughly chopped them
175g chilled, unsalted butter, chopped plus 20g to cook mushrooms
1 eschalot, finely chopped
100ml white wine
425ml veal stock

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200c.
  2. The veal should be a tubular shape, and if necessary, pin flaps and so forth with skewers. Season well.
  3. Mix egg, anchovy and garlic and brush all over the veal.
  4. Mix crumbs and cheese and press over the veal to completely cover.
  5. Put on a rack in a roasting pan and allow to come to room temperature.
  6. Roast veal for 25 – 30 minutes, turning once until the meat is medium rare and the temperature taken in the thickest part is 52c.
  7. Rest for 10 – 15 minutes, loosely tented with foil; this will prevent the crumbs from softening.
  8. For the sauce, fry the mushrooms in a knob of butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until brown.
  9. Add eschalot and lightly brown for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the wine and stock. Bring to the boil then strain into a clean saucepan, reserving the mushrooms.
  10. Boil the stock for 18 – 20 minutes over medium-high heat to reduce to 150ml.
  11. When ready to serve, keep the sauce at a low simmer and gradually beat in the butter until thick and glossy. Add the mushrooms and heat through.
  12. Carve the veal into thin slices, then serve with the sauce.

Veal with Fennel Salt

Serves: 2

I pulled this recipe from a Sunday paper.

Assuming you’re good with veal, this is a great number to whip up on a Sunday night.

I oven roasted some thinly sliced potatoes to go with it plus a glass of Pinot Gris.

Sunday papers are OK!

Ingredients

1 tbsp sea flakes
1 tbsp of fennel seeds
2 veal cutlets
Green leaves (rocket, spinach, lettuce)
1 Fennel
Squeeze of lemon
Olive Oil

Method

  1. Pound the salt and fennel seeds in a mortal and pestle.
  2. Brush the veal cutlets with olive oil and rub the salt mixture into the veal. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Grill the veal for 3 – 4 minutes on each side over a medium-high heat until medium-rare.
  4. Thinly slice the fennel and combine with the green leaves. Just before serving, dress with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Kofta b’siniyah

With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.
With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.

Serves 6

This recipe is from a book called ‘Jerusalem’ (Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi), bringing together recipes from the city; east and west. The book was a birthday present from our great friends, Woodles and Billy and they swear by it. After cooking this recipe, I do too.

This dish stood out immediately for two reasons.

Firstly, I love mince and anything to do with mince.

Secondly, it was a different sort of mince recipe than I had cooked before; mainly the use of the warmed tahini as a base and the burnt butter whilst serving.

What is really grabbing about it, is the presentation; it is beautiful and dramatic and perfect for a simple Sunday lunch with friends. I served it with a warm potato salad, though it would be well served with a salad of cucumber and tomato and some pita bread at the side.

Ingredients

150gm light tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
120ml water
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
30gm of unsalted butter (or ghee)
Sweet paprika to garnish
Salt
Chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kofta

400gm minced lamb
400gm minced veal or beef
1 small onion
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
50gm toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish
30gm finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground allspice
¾ tsp grated nutmeg
1½ ground black pepper
1½ tsp salt

Method

  1. Put all the kofta ingredients in a bowl and using your hand, mix well together.
  2. Shape the koftas into long, torpedo-like fingers, roughly 8cm long. Press the mix to compress it and ensure the kofta is tight and keeps it shape. Set aside and refrigerate for up to a day.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt; the sauce should be a bit runnier than honey and add one or two tablespoons of water if it is not.
  5. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan (I used a griddle) and sear the kofta over a high heat; do this in batches so they are not cramped. Sear them on all sides until they are golden brown; around six minutes per batch. At this point they should be medium rare.
  6. Transfer the kofta to an oven tray and spoon the tahini sauce around the koftas. Place in the oven for a few minutes, both to cook the koftas a bit further (2 – 4 minutes depending on your preference) and to warm the sauce.
  7. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little ensuring it doesn’t burn.
  8. Spoon the butter over the koftas as soon as they come out of the oven; scatter with pine nuts and parsley and finely sprinkle paprika on top.