A Day For Spicy Meatballs

Earlier this week, I read about Kimberly’s Jizzgasmic Meatballs recipe which triggered my cravings for meatballs. I also thought that it was interesting that she used fresh chillies in her meatballs. I imagine it would give a lovely flavour kick to the meatballs and put a mental note to try it someday.

This morning I looked out the kitchen window to our backyard and there, an abundance of bright red chillies dangling from my flatmates’ chilli plants were screaming to be picked. (Hannah and Murray had mentioned that we should help them use up the chillies). I opened the fridge and was reminded I still have 3 slices of stale expired leftover bread in the freezer which will be good as breadcrumbs. I then looked into the kitchen cabinet and saw that the jar of pasta sauce I bought on special more than 3 weeks ago was yet to be opened. Then, there were packets of pasta – penne and spirals, which were given by a friend, still sitting in the shelf.

It was like I was given signs that I should make meatballs today!

Before I started, I recalled reading a lovely blog post Jane Ward had written in remembrance of her father and his special meatballs recipe. In her post, she mentioned her father’s meatballs were tender and flavourful. The secret was, he cooked the meatballs raw in the tomato sauce itself without frying it prior. Although initially shocked and worried that the meatballs might not be cooked through, she and her mother decided that his father’s meatballs were the best they ever tasted.

So, I decided to fry half of my meatballs prior to simmering in the sauce and the other half, I dropped them raw into the sauce to taste the difference myself. I used pork mince in this recipe because Kimberly used pork and also because I’ve never tried making pork meatballs before. Plus, Terry is more of a pork person than beef. However, I am very confident beef mince would work just the same.

Ingredients for meatballs:

  • 200g pork mince
  • 2 fresh red chillies, chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • Breadcrumbs from 3 slices of bread (about half a cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (from the bottle), or Basil or Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Ingredients for tomato sauce:

  • ~3 cups pasta sauce or 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste if required
  • Grated cheddar cheese or parmesan (optional)

Method:

  1. To make breadcrumbs, I microwaved  and cooled the slices of bread alternately in a microwave, 2 minutes at a time until they are completely dry and crispy. Then I break them into pieces and pounded them into breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for meatballs in a big bowl.
  3. Shape the mince mixture into one-inch meatballs. Set aside.
  4. Heat a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the meatballs gently until browned and remove. If you are planning to drop them into the sauce raw, you may skip this step.
  5. Using the drippings in the pan, fry the chopped onions and garlic until fragrant. Top up with more oil if necessary.
  6. Pour in pasta sauce and stir in all seasonings. Add in about a cup of water and stir well.If you like it cheesy, you may add some grated cheese at this point. I added two tablespoons of leftover sun-dried tomato dip which has parmesan and ricotta cheese in it.
  7. When the sauce boils, carefully add in your meatballs, either raw or fried and stir a little to make sure meatballs are covered or smeared with sauce.
  8. Turn to low heat and simmer it covered for about 10 to 15 minutes or until raw meatballs are completely cooked.
  9. Serve hot on your favorite cooked pasta, garnished with grated cheese if you like.

I like the flavour that the fresh chillies are giving my meatballs and that slight heat. I find the meatballs dropped raw into the sauce to cook is indeed more tender but the taste is pretty similar to the ones fried. Next time, I won’t bother to fry the meatballs first, I’ll just drop them into the sauce to cook in one go. One less step, one less hassle 😉

This is a very versatile recipe for a classic comfort food dish. You can pretty much use any spices you want in the meatballs or sauce as long as it’s not too bizarre. I think I added a bit of everything I had in my kitchen in this recipe. Go crazy with it and happy trying!

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25 comments on “A Day For Spicy Meatballs

  1. kimberlycun says:

    They look so yummy! Next time I make these I wanna cook em in the sauce straight too. Glad u like the fresh chilli in the meatballs 😀

  2. Hong says:

    If you prefer the fried the meatballs, adding finely chopped carrot will add juiciness to your meatballs..:P

  3. authorjaneward says:

    Thank you for the mention, and I’m glad you gave the method a try. I saw Mario Batali cook his meatballs exactly the same way, so my father was obviously on to something. Love your recipe!

  4. […] A Day For Spicy Meatballs (tienunscripted.wordpress.com) […]

  5. […] A Day For Spicy Meatballs (tienunscripted.wordpress.com) […]

  6. Khanum says:

    oh my goodness. im gonna go mad today. every blog i come across is simply delicious with recipes this evening. I posted a meat ball recipe long ago. my mother’s twisted version of it, called yogurt twist. v Pakistanis simply loveeee koftay. fantastic post, Tien.

  7. Swee San says:

    I just made some sausage roll and had some extra mince so made them into meat balls.. gonna cook them tomorrow for lunch. yay!

  8. D... says:

    Oh Tien that’s a marvelous idea. I used to fry, but that’s not good for you, then I baked and it came out really good, but the idea of tender meatballs sounds good. I’m tinkering with the idea of peppers in there too. I also like making turkey meatballs, it’s all making me hungry. Gotta go make something delish.

    Thanks Love for the post 🙂

  9. Bill Tucker says:

    Tine – I’m conflicted on browning and then simmering my meatballs: browning adds flavor through caramelization ; simmering will add more flavor of the sauce. Either way the addition of chili peppers is a great idea. Thank you for a good post.

  10. genn says:

    the meatballs look really delish! Shall try it someday!

  11. Nicole says:

    Hmmm, I love meatballs!! SO good!

  12. nadia says:

    What a great idea about using fresh, red chilies! I’m going to try this soon with minced beef.

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