Here is a quick improvisation on one of the classic Italian Polpette, which I made few times before, which I highly recommend. Fennel is this magic ingredient, which transforms these meatballs to another level of deliciousness.
This time I ran out of fennel seeds, instead I just added some chilli powder, paprika & Worcestershire sauce for a little bit of kick, plus cannellini beans for some substance.
PORK POLPETTE IN TOMATO SAUCE WITH CANNELLINI BEANS
For tomato sauce:
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of chilli flakes to your taste
1/2 paprika powder
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 small handful of oregano, finely chopped
pinch of caster sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans (or any other canned beans of your choice)
chopped dill/parsley to garnish (optional)
For the Polpette:
1.5 kg minced pork
3 medium free-range eggs
large pinch of dried chilli flakes
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- To make a sauce, heat half the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. When transparent, add the tinned tomatoes, cannelloni beans and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to bubble on the lowest heat for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the sugar, Worcestershire sauce, if using, and the oregano. Taste and see if it needs anything else. Set aside for now.
- To make meatballs, preheat the oven to 220C. Put the pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl and massage thoroughly. Roll into approx 45g balls, place them on a greased baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, turning once until they are starting to brown.
- Then poach the meatballs in the tomato & beans sauce for 10 minutes.
- Serve on its own with some fresh chopped herbs and nice crusty bread or focaccia.
I mentioned before how much I liked the recent Nigella transformation, her new TV show and updated recipes. I even bought the book and already cooked 1/3 of its content and wasn’t disappointed with any of the recipes. No fuss, lovely ingredients, full of new ideas and new takes on classics.
One such recipe is a Stir-fry with double sprouts (Brussel sprouts and bean sprouts), chilli & pineapple. It’s good enough on its own, but even better with some pulled ham hog. I also didn’t have beansprouts this time, which makes my version ‘single sprout’ one.
BRUSSEL SPROUTS, CHILLI, PINEAPPLE AND HAM STIR-FRY
250g Brussel sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
3cm fresh ginger, grated
1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
150g fresh pineapple, chopped into cubes
250g cooked and cooled brown rice (or any other rice of your choice)
250g cooked pull ham hog (optional)
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
chopped fresh coriander to serve (optional)
- Prep and chop all ingredients beforehand.
- Heat up a wok, add groundnut oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, chilli, ginger and spring onion and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
- Then add the rice and pineapple chunks, stir-fry for 3 minutes or so, before adding the ham hog pieces, season with soy sauce and lime juice. Stir-fry for another minutes or until everything is hot, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately.