from one generation to the next
Buying ingredients to suit the household budget is a perennial challenge to all cooks. Growing up in the 1960s, my Dad received his salary fortnightly. Mum served “rissoles” (Aussie for meatballs) according to the budget. Rich man’s rissoles were made with minced steak, poor man’s rissoles with cheap butcher prepared sausage meat. I never cared much for the latter, until one day Mum announced that the poor man had struck it lucky. She pulled from the oven a steaming fragrant dish of “Porcupine Meatballs, ” a new recipe she’d made from a newspaper clipping.
Sausage meatballs, bulked up with steamed white rice, simmered in the oven in sweet creamy canned tomato soup made it an instant dinner table favourite.
Health awareness in 2013 means I’m discerning about the fat/salt/preservative content of my sausage and I prefer to cook with fresh tomatoes so this is how I prepare my Mum’s “Porcupine Meatballs ” for my grand daughters who love it as much as I did fifty years ago.
1 kg pork mince
1 cup cooked white quinoia
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick celery, peeled and roughly chopped
Handful fresh parsley, washed
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons fennel seed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup rice flour
500mls homemade tomato passata
1 cup stock
250g cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves
Pre heat the oven to 160C
In the food processor blitz the carrot, celery, garlic and parsley. Add half of the minced pork and process to a smooth paste. Tip the pork paste into a bowl, then knead in the quinoia, the remaining pork mince and fennel seeds. Season well. At this point I’d fry a little very small patty of meat to check the seasonings. Adjust if necessary.
Roll the prepared pork into balls about the size of a walnut, 2cm diameter.
Toss the meatball in rice flour to lightly coat then set aside.
In a wide shallow lidded casserole dish, heat the passata and stock, taste and season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a little sugar if the tomatoes are acidic. Add the meatballs in a single layer to the sauce, spooning a little sauce over each as you go.
Cover the casserole dish and bake in for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, add the cherry tomato halves and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes.
Scatter a generous chiffonade of fresh basil over over the meatballs and serve.
Delicious served with rocket (aragula) and Parmesan salad, crusty bread to mop up the sauce, and a decent glass of red wine.