I don’t eat meat very often, and I’m VERY excited about making a vegetarian version of these soft, delicious, moist meatballs very soon. Sometimes though, I need the fatty pork and beefness on my plate, and surely the imminent arrival of winter is one of those times. I’ve made many versions of these, as the glaze is so flexible, so I’ll indicate along the way which ingredients you can substitute for others – chance are, you have everything in your pantry to make these for dinner tonight.
Meatballs: (makes about 10 small ones)
- 250g mince meat – mixed pork & beef (the mix is not really negotiable!) You might want to triple the quantity though.
- 150-200g (or two slices) soft brown bread, pref the kind with seeds, or any bread – shredded, I use a blender and pulse a few times until it’s crumbled. Bread is what makes the meatballs fluffy and soft, it also increases the yield, you get more meatball for your meat.
- 1 egg – this is the binder, it’s a must!
- 1-2 tbsp grated ginger, turmeric & garlic (any mix, these are optional but highly recommended and add taste and kick to the meat)
- Optional – any/all of the following: chopped coriander, cayenne pepper, a mix of nuts (any nuts), a dash of soy sauce, squeeze of lime
Preheat oven to 180°
Mix all of the ingredients (yes, with your hands), form into golf-ball sized meatballs in your palm (or even smaller for the party mini-meatballs), and place in a greased oven dish.
The quantity of ingredients can be totally eyeballed, very little can go wrong here. Theoretically you could use just something sweet with vinegar and a bit of oil, but you’ll miss out on all of kicks from other ingredients. But at least you understand that this is the base, and you can make tons of variants if you’re feeling creative, adding other fruits or spices.
- 5 tbsp Vinegar (Apple Cider vinegar pref. – or anything, but NOT balsamic, it’s too thick and sweet)
- 2-3 tbsp Quince jelly (or any jam, jelly, honey or molasses!) I used my homemade quince and cardamom jelly, was to die for, I ate all 10 meatballs to myself pretty much as they came out of the oven.
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1tsp/ small thumb grated ginger
- 1/2 lime juice
- chilli powder (or fresh chillies)
- Soy sauce (can be replaced by a little salt, or ignored altogether)
- 1 large tbsp Miso (this is actually optional – it adds a certain deliciousness you might not want to miss out on though)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, olive oil, or any oil really.
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, and using a brush, glaze the meatballs before popping them into the over for 30 mins. Keep an eye on them and add glaze again after about 15 mins, and again after 30 mins. Turn the oven off and leave the meatballs in there another 10 minutes, this will make the glaze caramelise softly and also will allow the meatballs to cool down a little bit, make everything “come together” – you’ll see what I mean. This is also a great trick for roasted vegetables by the way. Just leave stuff in the oven an extra 10 minutes with the oven off and watch what happens!
TIP: I had some glaze left, so I blended a few tomatoes and added a dash of vinegar to it, and boiled this sauce down in a pan on high heat for 5 minutes, and presto! Homemade ketchup to go with the meatballs! Ok, ok I *may* have made extra glaze on purpose…
Once you get used to making these, it’s a cinch and you can really mix and match the ingredients. I made these for the first time as “mini-meatballs” to go to a party, they are delicious cold, and were an absolute hit.