These meatballs are full of herbs, three type of cheese and to top it all off, they’ve been cooked in a tomato sauce that has red wine, red wine vinegar, honey and of course, some chilli for that zing!
For the longest time I struggled with coming up with a recipe that would be my go to when it came to meatballs. You know, that one that just screams comfort from the get go, yes that one. I finally came up with one that I’m sure will be an absolute winner for everyone.
The greatest challenge for me was trying to come up with a way to ensure that the meat balls did not fall apart on me, considering that they are egg-less. I have always said on my blog that some of my family members are deathly allergic to eggs. I can’t tell you the number of times these meatballs fell apart on me. It was quite frustrating to say the least.
I asked around and found the solution from my brother who is a professional chef. He told me to search for a butchery that minces the meat twice or request the butcher to do it twice for me. And, voila!!! That sorted all my problems. In case you are wondering, I always buy my minced beef from Tuskys Greenspan mall. Theirs is always minced twice, and no, they are not paying me to promote them. I’m doing this out of the goodness of my culinary heart! 😎 All you foodies who follow me deserve to have this info.
The next step was to incorporate flavours in to them that were complimentary. Hence the tree types of cheese. They impart that unique flavour of theirs that’s comparable to none, especially the parmesan cheese. The cheeses are optional though, you could opt to not use any or you could just use one of them.
I also love cooking with wine whenever I can because of the complexity of flavour that it adds. The secret is in allowing all the alcohol to evaporate, preferably while the sufuria is uncovered. The concentrate that remains has such a dynamic depth of flavour. It’ll blow your mind. I wouldn’t recommend for you to add the wine just before serving the food because it will be too acidic and bitter with a boozey smell.
The wine is optional, you could use your favourite broth or just plain water.
Another thing that I feel is important to point out is the use of minimal spices. By minimal I mean the quantities. You’ll find that I use teaspoons or 3/4 of teaspoons because I cannot stand heavily spiced meatballs (that’s not to say that they are bland). I would rather have a a spicier sauce.
Like with all my recipes, adjust the spice levels to suit your individual palates.
Let’s talk fresh vegetables. Zucchini and the carrots. This is a very clever way of sneaking in vegetables in to your children’s meals. They make the meatballs so moist, you would beleive it. They remain so soft and juicy once they are done.
If you follow my quantities to the letter you will end up with between 28 – 30 meatballs.
Here’s the recipe in action:
Ingredients for the Meatballs
Ingredients for the tomato sauce
These meatballs are full of vegetables, herbs, cheese and are bursting with flavour! Then, they've been finished off in a very tasty tomato sauce hat has red wine, red wine vinegar, honey and of course, some chilli for that zing!. Most importantly, they are eggless and have no breadcrumbs making them very friendly for people who suffer from various allergies.
- 500 g Minced beef - Best is the one that's minced twice * Read recipe note 1
- 5 Beef sausages - you can use any other like chicken, pork, etc.
- 3/4 tsp Dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp Dried basil
- 1 tsp Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 1 tsp Green chilli paste - use any other chilli of your choice
- 1 tsp Onion flakes
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp White pepper powder
- 1 cup Grated zucchini - squeeze all extra water out * see note 2
- 1 cup Grated carrots - squeeze all extra water out * see note 2
- 2 Tbs Finely diced red onion
- 1 Tbs Finely chopped dhania / coriander stalks
- 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese - optional * See note 3
- 1/4 cup Grated mozzarella cheese - optional * See note 3
- 1/4 cup Grated cheddar cheese - optional * See note 3
- 1 cup Diced red onions
- 2 Tbs Sunflower oil - use any other oil of your choice
- 1 tsp Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 1 tsp Green chilli paste
- 1/2 cup Red wine - Optional
- 1/4 cup Red wine vinegar - Optional
- 2 cups Pureed / blended tomatoes - you could also grate them
- 1 tbs Onion flakes
- salt to taste
- 2 Beef cubes / bullions - optional
- 2 tsp Honey - optional
- Handful of dhania / coriander leaves
Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a mixing bowl and mix them them until well combined.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out the minced meat mixture and roll lightly into balls. Should yield between twenty eight and thirty balls.
Heat two to three tablespoons of oil in a sufuria and then sear the meat balls on each side until lightly browned.
In the same oil that had the meatballs, add the diced onions and cook until they start turning brown.
Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli pastes. Cook them off for about a minute.
Pour in the red wine and leave it to simmer uncovered until it reduces by more than half.
Add the red wine vinegar and mix in well. Allow it to cook off for about two minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes and allow to come up to a simmer. Taste for balance of seasoning then add beef cubes and honey if using. Simmer everything for about twenty minutes.
Add the meatballs in to the sauce and add more water if required. Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes.
As a finishing touch you can add the dhania leaves and then turn off the heat.
You can serve the meatballs with any starch of your choice, rice, chapati, rice, spaghetti, etc.
- The beef has to be minced twice because we are not going to be using any eggs for binding it. The fine mince helps in ensuring that the meatballs do not fall apart while cooking.
- Squeezing out all the water from the zucchini and carrots helps in ensuring that the meatballs mixture does not end up being too soggy. A soggy mixture makes it very hard to handle and roll the meatballs.
- The cheeses are totally optional., you could leave them out or add whichever one you have or prefer. I love adding cheese to the meatballs because of the awesome flavour that they impart. They also do aid in binding, although, even without them the meatballs will still remain intact.
- The red wine and red wine vinegar are totally optional in this recipe. I use them because of the complexity of flavour that they add. If you don't have or prefer not to use either of them then go ahead and use a broth (or sauce) of your choice or just good old plain water.
- If you are allergic to honey and would still want to have a sweet undertone in your meatballs then you can use a sweetener of your choice.