You can’t just make A FEW meatballs. They’re one of those foods where if you’re making them, you should be making a LOT of them. This happens especially if you’re mixing your meats – mine are pork and beef – because you can’t buy a tiny pack of beef mince and a tiny pack of pork mince. You might as well go whole hog, buy 1kg meat and spending your afternoon well… Ballin’. That’s exactly what I did, and we ended up with 72 meatballs in the house.*
I’ve been making this recipe as long as I can remember, as taught by my dad (author of other delicious creations such as The Best Bolognese Sauce and Tuna, Rice ‘And All Things Nice’) As my tastes have changed I’ve started adding more spice but the basic recipe remains untouched. Spend a couple of hours bulk balling, and you’ll have a freezer full of meaty delights that you can pop on pasta, serve in pittas as per my little packed lunches, or just eat (obviously defrosted and cooked through).
Recipe after the jump!
*Update – there’s like 20 left now
Meatballs for Days
Yields 70-80 balls
- 500g beef mince
- 500g pork mince
- 1 medium onion
- 1 egg
- 3 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
- Sprinkle black pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Flour, for coating
- Olive oil for frying
Chop the onion finely and then whizz in a food processor or with a handheld whizzer to pulverise. You don’t want any big bits as they will affect the delightful roundness of the balls. In a large bowl, mix the onion, spices, lemon juice and seasoning and mince together. Add two handfuls of breadcrumbs and the egg and mix further. You’ll notice I didn’t weigh out the breadcrumbs – you just need to keep adding more until the mixture is the desired consistency – wet, but not too wet. Try making a practice ball with it and see if it holds. If it does, you’re good to go.
To create the balls, you need wet hands. Get a bowl of lukewarm water big enough to put your whole hand in palm down. Use this to wet your hands, and then grab some of the mixture. The balls should be about 2-3 inches big. Roll the mixture in both hands and then roll it in a bowl of seasoned flour. Shake off the excess and place on a plate. This is really important – as you ball, roll and shake, make sure your finished meatballs don’t touch each other on the plate as they will stick together.
Once you’ve balled a good few, it’s a good idea to do a taste test to make sure the mixture isn’t awful or under seasoned. In a large frying pan, shallow fry the meatballs in a decent glug of olive oil until golden on all sides. You want to give each ball maybe 6-8 minutes to cook through thoroughly. Give them a taste and adjust the seasoning and spices as necessary, or if everything is good, keeping balling, rolling, shaking and frying until you have a kitchen full of delicious meatballs. It’s then tradition to deglaze the pan with a little red wine and save this as a base for your sauce (add stock, garlic and cream for a rich gravy or you could go down a passata-based route).
The meatballs will keep in your freezer for around 3-6 months, bag them up tightly to stop any freezer ‘burn’ and freeze in portion sizes, as they tend to stick together!