Meatballs in rich tomato sauce

A few weeks ago, I posted the watered down light version of this dish. A dinner party loosely inspired in Spanish cuisine prompted me to do the actual thing, with all its condiments, red wine and olive oil. Mind you, for extra slow-home-made-cooking points, the meatballs were rolled by hand with all love and care by T. and myself. It seemed like a lot of food, but at the end all it was left was the meatballs used for this snapshot. And, I had to hide it in a dark corner of my fridge.

Meatballs in rich tomato sauce (adapted from Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas’ Tapas: Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations)

Ingredients 

For the meatballs

  • 650g of minced pork and beef
  • 2 pinches of very finely chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, tarragon, coriander and oregano.
  • 1large egg
  • small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped (or to taste)
  • 300g fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough olive oil to coat the baking tray

For the tomato sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 70mL ruby Port
  • 250mL red wine
  • 3 cans of 400g-chopped plum tomatoes
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 oC.

2. Put all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl, and season all the salt and pepper. Combine with your hands until you have a consistent mixture which allows you to form the meatball.

3. Start rolling the meatballs with your hands.

4. Put a generous amount of olive oil in baking tray

5. Drop in the meatball, stirring them to coat them evenly.

6. Put the tray in the oven for 30min, or until the meatballs are all golden brown. Do not forget to stir them occasionally to cook them in all directions.

7.While waiting for the meatball, start the tomato sauce. Place a large, deep sided saucepan on a low heat and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the  sliced vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Fry gently until they are soft and start to color.

8. Poor in both wines, and bring to boil.

9.When the wine is boiling and has reduced to half the volume, drop in the tomatoes. Season again, and bring to boil, stirring at all times.

10. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 15min.

11. Once the meatballs are cooked, fold them in the tomato sauce. Let it simmer for 10min more. (in reality, what I did was to do the tomato sauce and the meatballs  in advance. On the day of the party, I combined them both while cold. Then, I slowly warm them. It actually tastes better, as the flavors combine and develop).

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