Pork meatballs with apple and sage

I think meatballs are the main reason I’m not a vegetarian – a trip to IKEA would never be the same again (although Sweden has admitted that its ‘national dish’ was actually Turkish).

Having said that I should probably experiment with some vegetarian versions – the internet is full of this oxymoron of all recipes – and I promise to have a go soon. Or I could go with a vegetarian recipe that had the look and feel of a meatball – like this pumpkin and sage arancini recipe perhaps, from one of my favourite food bloggers.

It’s not just the taste and the versatility of meatballs, it’s the whole enjoyable, therapeutic process – the mixing of ingredients in a big bowl, adding home grown herbs and then ball rolling. I like to have several batches of home made meatballs in the freezer for ready meals after work. When I was working away for a few weeks this winter I would get really excited about coming home for the weekend to warm up a big bowl of meatballs and spaghetti.

I love my recipe for meatballs in tomato sauce but now that the weather’s warmer I wanted to experiment with something lighter. This recipe uses just pork (usually I mix up a variety of meats – beef, chicken, pork or turkey). To keep it light I’ve added a good portion of breadcrumbs, in this case from a couple of wholemeal buns I had left over from a veggie burger feast. I put the meatballs in the oven rather than have to stand at a spitting frying pan of oil which is not so pleasant in warm weather.

I cooked the pork in a mixture of cider and apple juice (but using just either cider or apple juice would be as good). I think the round onion shallots and baby carrots make a great addition to the stew. I served the stew with beans and courgettes.

These proportions make about 20 meatballs – double up the quantities for a big batch you can freeze in portions (always defrost in the fridge overnight).

Ingredients

  • 1 kg minced pork
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and grated
  • 12 shallots
  • 12 baby carrots, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 600 mls cider or apple juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking.

Method

  1. In a large bowl mix the pork, breadcrumbs, garlic, sage, apples, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oven to 200C.
  3. Form into meatballs (a bit smaller than the size of golf balls). Place on an oven tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Cook the meatballs in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning half way through the cooking time.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the shallots for five minutes then add the carrots. Add the cooked meatballs (scraping in the juices from the tray) and pour in the cider or apple juice. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 10 minutes or until the carrots are just cooked.

Do you have a cheap, fresh and easy recipe I can try? Let me know and I’ll feature it on the site and link back to you.

You can also follow on Twitter @CheapFreshandEasy and Instagram  (cheapfreshandeasy) and you can use the hashtag #cheapfreshandeasy in your own posts and I will leave a comment for you.

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