Here is my delicious meatballs in tomato sauce recipe, a classic Belgian dish that I also prepared my style! This one is the perfect meatball dinner to try out.
You are also going to love these meatballs in tomato sauce!
If you know a little something about Belgian cooking, then you certainly must have come across these lush meatballs in tomato sauce. I love them to bits, it is such a lovely comfort food!
And even if this dish looks easy to prepare, still lots of recipes might be out there. I for once prepared these meatballs just the way I like them best! And to be very honestly, I find my version of classic Belgian meatballs in tomato sauce the best ever. But like with a lot of things in cooking, It’s all in the little details.
So here’s how I prepare these meatballs. And I am also happy to share a couple of my kitchen secrets with you along the way.
Belgian Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
Have you ever made meatballs from scratch before?
Well I bet you have. It is so easy to do. It is just a matter of finding the right meat mince and then add all the spices and seasoning that you love the most. You can keep them quite classic. Or spice them up with special flavors such as ground cinnamon, garam masala, curry, cumin and so on. Just don’t exaggerate, that’s all.
If you have made meatballs from scratch before, then you also know that it’s all about the right flavor balance and also the best texture when it comes to meatballs. Well there, I said it.
That is something that I find very important in my dishes. 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. And therefore I have my own secret weapon in the kitchen…
Read on if you want to know what it is!
That’s my secret for fluffy meatballs.
Yes, I like to add a handful of grated parmesan cheese to my meatball mince mixture. That keeps them so extremely moist and also quite soft on the inside. I have even found that if I make a batch of fresh meatballs and then freeze them, that the texture of the meatballs once they are cooked is extra fluffy.
Go on then, I want to share yet another little secret of mine. This time about that tomato sauce for the meatballs. I always add cloves, balsamic vinegar and also a pinch of cinnamon and sugar to the tomato sauce because this will make it extra flavorful.
Watch out for that cinnamon though! Just a tiny little pinch. Cinnamon can overpower food very quickly. And turn your lovely sauce into an unpleasant and heavy tomato puree.
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.
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!
Belgian Meatballs In Tomato Sauce Recipe
- 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.