It’s been a looong time since I last made meatballs. I remember them being a bit fiddly, so I usually just end up making a bolognaise-type sauce with mince instead. Fortunately, I decided to give them another go, and it turns out they can be quite easy and worth the little bit of extra effort.
You can of course vary the spices or even the type of meat (lamb with saudi baharat would work well, as would chicken) add more or less of the ras el hanout or chipotle chilli (this recipe is mild in my opinion). Bush tomato isn’t generally a standard of most pantries, but I did have it in mine and figured it would work well (which it did) but don’t rush out to buy it if it’s not in yours. Fresh coriander could work instead of parsley, and you could also add a tablespoon of pine nuts or some chopped pancetta or bacon to the meatball mix as well.
- 500g beef mince (I used Hopkins River chuck steak)
- 1 tsp pink salt flakes
- 1 heaped tsp ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (proper cinnamon not cassia)
- 1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 tin (400g) organic chopped tomatoes (salt free, sugar free etc)
- 2 teaspoons ground bush tomato
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (proper)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (for garnish)
Place all the meatball ingredients into a medium bowl, and mush together with your hands untill everything is blended thoroughly. I made 8 meatballs – you can make more (smaller) ones, but I’d refrain from making less (larger) as they’re harder to cook through without over cooking the outside.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons ghee in a fry pan (I used my trusty 23cm cast iron pan) over a medium heat. Place the balls in the pan and cook for ~ 8 mins – turning them after every 2 mins or so – until all sides are not showing any (or very little) pink.
Pour the tinned tomatoes over the meatballs along with the spices (but not the parsley). Gently mix the spices into the tomato and spoon over and around the meatballs. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 mins, occasionally turning the balls (gently so they don’t fall apart) and covering them with tomato so they don’t dry out. You’re aiming for meatballs that are firm/cooked through (the time to achieve this will depend on the size of the balls so can be a little bit of guess-work) and thick tomato sauce (about 2/3 of the original volume). I recommend you taste the sauce around the 10 min mark, to see if it needs salt or some more kick i.e. extra chipotle. Different tins of chopped toms can be more/less acidic, so feel free to play around with the spices – my fall back method, if I find I’ve got something way too ‘tart’ or spicy is to add some honey or maple syrup (but it’s not paleo then) or even a little more ghee, to try and round out the flavours.
Once the meatballs are done to your liking, sprinkle over the remaining chopped parsley and mix it through the sauce. Voila! Easy tasty ras el chipotle meatballs. 🙂 I’ve been serving mine with lightly steamed kale and roast sweet potato. Coconut Cauliflower ‘Couscous’ (leave out the madras curry) would also accompany the meatballs nicely, as would Cheat’s Mushroom Risotto.