My homemade meatballs in tomato sauce is one of my family’s favourite meals.
Whether it’s just the two of us at home on a weekday or the rest of the family coming round for dinner, it’s a dish I make again and again because it is easy, delicious and goes a long way.
I’m not claiming my recipe to be traditional or classic, it is just how I do it…and it turns out yummy! So here goes:
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Ingredients needed for the homemade meatballs recipe
Makes 32 meatballs, serves 6-8 portions (depending on how many meatballs each person eats!)
Ingredients for the meatballs
1kg minced beef (you could use any other minced meat if you prefer, such as lamb or veal or for vegetarian/vegan meatballs, a meat alternative such as quorn would work well too)
1 cup medium Matzo Meal (I was brought up in a Jewish household so I’m just used to using Matzo Meal but breadcrumbs will work just as well)
2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Ingredients for the sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp honey
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Detailed step by step guide on making homemade meatballs
Step 1 – Preparing the meatballs from scratch
In a large mixing bowl, put the meat, eggs, matzo meal, coriander, salt and pepper. Be generous with the seasoning.
It can all go in together at the same time and then give it a good mix. I use a metal spoon and then my hands to mix as you can feel the texture better that way. You don’t want the mixture to be too wet or too dry as the balls will fall apart.
Step 2 – Making the meatballs
Once you’re happy with the texture, take a small amount of mixture, and pass it between your hands slightly squeezing it. Then roll it into a round ball shape, a bit bigger than a golf ball. Keep doing this until all the mixture has been used up. I ended up with 32 meat balls.
When handling raw meat, remember to wash all surfaces and utensils after use to avoid contamination.
Step 3 – Preparing the tomato sauce
Chop the garlic and start frying it in a casserole dish or similar for a couple of minutes. When it starts going golden, add the chopped onion and fry until the onion has softened slightly. Whilst this is happening, you can start to fry the meatballs simultaneously.
Step 4 – Frying and sealing the meatballs
In a large non-stick frying pan, shallow fry the meatballs until brown all over. The idea is to seal the meat balls so don’t worry if they go a bit crispy on the outside. You don’t want them to fall apart once you put them in the sauce.
Step 5 – Adding the meatballs to the tomato based sauce
While the meatballs are frying, carry on making your sauce. Add the tinned tomatoes to the garlic and onions and all the spices/flavourings for the sauce. Simmer on a low/medium heat.
Once the meatballs are brown, you can add them straight into the sauce. I also add some of the oil that the balls were fried in, to the sauce to add a more meaty flavour.
Step 6 – Cooking the meatballs in tomato sauce
Once all the meat balls are added to the sauce, make sure they are mostly submerged in the sauce so they can cook properly. You may need to add more water to make this happen.
A handy tip is to swirl water in the empty tomato tins and pour that into the sauce to get all the tomato juice that’s left around the edges of the can.
Simmer for about 50 minutes or until cooked. Stir every so often in the meantime and taste the sauce as you go along. Adjust the salt/flavourings as you wish. You can also taste a bit of a meatball to double check it is cooked all the way through.
Serving suggestion for your homemade meatballs
Serve with spaghetti, pasta, couscous, rice, garlic bread…whatever you want really.
I serve my meatballs with spaghetti tossed in extra virgin olive oil and some dried herbs and chilli flakes. Mmmm…..
I hope you found this recipe useful with some helpful tips.
You can adapt this recipe many times over, adding different spices, herbs and flavours depending on what you like but this basic method is fool proof.
You can also freeze the meatballs but ensure you defrost them fully before heating again and they are cooked all the way through. Good luck!
Feel free to get in touch with any questions or suggestions. Thanks and speak soon!