This was a triumph – not my words, but my wife’s – both as a midweek meal and for my wife’s lunch the next day (using the leftovers).
In fact, everything in the meal was leftover something or other: the chorizo sausages were the remnants of a present from a friend; the beef mince was half a pack I’d split to make spag bol for my kids; the sauce had been lurking in the freezer ever since I’d made a big batch for quick-as-as-you-like after-school meals.
Isn’t that one of the joys of cooking? Looking at what you’ve got, then coming up with a recipe on the spot.
And when you get an email like this, as I did from my hard-working wife, it makes it even more worthwhile: “Leftover meatballs and rice – a triumph. One more portion to come. Roll on tomoz.”
Anyway, putting domestic bliss to one side, here’s the recipe:
For the meatballs
1 tbsp olive oil
3 uncooked chorizo sausages, skinned
300g lean beef mince
1/2 onion, very fine chopped (or grated – even better)
2-3 garlic cloves, very fine chopped (or grated)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato sauce (1 serving – double, triple or quadruple the quantities for batch making)
1 can chopped tomatoes or jar of passata
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1. To make the tomato sauce, put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, the reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook for 30 mins (or, actually, as long as you like – the longer you cook, the deeper the sauce).
2. Turn the heat off and allow to cool a little before blitzing with a hand blender until smooth, or transfer to a food processor and do the same.
3. To make the meatballs, put all the ingredients in a non-metallic bowl and use your hands to thoroughly mix, making sure you break up the chorizo sausages as they can be quite dense.
4. Once mix, pinch off a small handful of the mixture and roll into golf ball-sized meatballs.
5. Gently heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the meatballs all over for approx. 5 mins.
6. Remove the meatballs from the pan and drain on kitchen towel.
7. Pour the tomato sauce into a large pan and add the meatballs. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook until tender, approx. 40 mins.
8. Serve the meatballs with spaghetti or pasta of your choice.