Belgian Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
Have you made meatballs from scratch before? I bet you have. Aren’t you just looking for the right flavor balance and the best texture? There, I said it. Texture. You and I both know that there’s a lot of difference between meatballs depending on what ingredients you put into the ground meat mixture. I want my meatballs to be super fluffy and soft on the inside, not coarse or chunky or hard as bullets.
My secret: I like to add a handful of grated parmesan cheese to my meatball mince mixture. That keeps them very moist and also quite soft on the inside. Go on then, another little secret of mine: add cloves, balsamic vinegar and also a pinch of cinnamon and sugar to the sauce because this will make it extra flavorful.
But then a like a week or two ago I came across a video recipe of a food vlogger (unfortunately I don’t know the name anymore) who also added another quite surprising ingredient to the meatball mixture to make them extra light and velvety. Mashed potatoes! Seriously, I’m not kidding. And I think that it might actually work. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m quite certain that the mash can make my meatballs even better. I’ll keep you posted about the results!
Do you love Belgian food? Then also check out another Belgian classic: my steak tartare! Do you by any chance have any leftover meatballs in tomato sauce? Then turn them into a delicious spaghetti and meatballs the day after!
- 2 ½ lbs ground beef (1125 g), or pork
- 5 medium garlic cloves chopped finely
- 1 large shallot chopped finely
- 1 medium onion chopped
- a handful breadcrumbs or panko
- a handful parmesan cheese grated
- 1 small egg
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 2 lbs canned chopped tomatoes (900 g)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 glass red wine
- 2 tbsp worcester sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- a handful fresh herbs chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 cloves
- olive oil
Heat some olive oil in a saucepan until hot. Then add the chopped shallots, half of the garlic and a bay leaf. Season with pepper and salt.
Cook the shallot mixture under a lid until browned. Stir regularly. Then take the pan off the heat and let it cool.
Pour the mince in a large bowl. Add the cooked shallots (remove the bay leaves) and egg.
- Knead the mince. Then add the panko (or breadcrumbs) and grated parmesan. Season with pepper and salt.
Knead the mince well. Add extra pepper or salt to taste. Then make meatballs from the mixture. Mine were about 1 ½ oz (45 g). In the end I had 30 meatballs.
- Coat the meatballs lightly with the flour. In a large casserole pour some olive oil and place it over high heat until hot. Then add the meatballs.
- Brown them on all sides for 6 minutes.
Then remove them from the pan, keep the oil. Turn the heat lower and add the remaining bay leaves, rosemary, chopped onion, cloves and the remaining garlic.
Gently fry the onion for about 4 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar.
- Stir well. Then add the red wine, balsamic vinegar and worcester sauce. Season with pepper and salt.
Bring the tomato sauce to a rolling boil and then turn the heat low. Simmer the sauce under a lid for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir regularly. Then blend or mix the sauce until very creamy.
- Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. If the sauce is too bitter or vinegary, add an extra pinch of sugar to reduce that flavor. Stir in the chopped herbs.
Add the browned meatballs.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the meatballs are warmed through. Then scoop the sauce and meatballs onto deep plates. Serve hot.