Thursday, 1 November 2012

Magnificent Meatballs and Tremendous Tomato Sauce

meatballs in tomato sauce with mozzarella
Presentation Is Not My Strong Point, I Just Want To Eat Once Plated!
I have a little black book that contains a wealth of recipes from the past 6 years, most have been documented on Free From G, some haven't. I revisited two of those trusted recipes for dinner last night and was reminded of what my Glutenite had named them (when doing recipe experiments he often writes things down for me as I go along). He really likes this meal as you can probably tell.

free from g recipe book
The Free From G Messy Little Black Book
So I stuck with them. That's his portion up there by the way, I couldn't eat half that!

We experimented last night and smoked the meatballs with bourbon soaked oak, pecan and hickory wood chips, they were lovely but they lost pretty much all their fat content in the smoking process and were too dry without the sauce for my liking. With the sauce they were gorgeous but I don't think the smoking adds enough of a difference to the meal overall. I'll stick with my regular method in future but that's why it's always great to experiment, sometimes you just can't better what's already good.

For the sake of documentation I'll give both methods.

Meatball Ingredients:
  • 500g Pork Mince
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • I Tablespoon Dried Marjoram
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Sage
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • Mozzarella Slices Optional
Directions:
  • Peel and dice the onion
  • Put into a mixer and make into a smooth paste
  • Put the pork mince into a container
  • Add the onion, herbs and salt
meatball ingredients
Partially Mixed
  • Use a fork to break up the strands of mince until the mix is smooth
  • Mix thoroughly
meatball ingredients mixed
Mixed
  • Take a small handful of the mixture and make into a ball around the size of a golf ball
  • Put onto a plate
  • Repeat until all the mixture is used (keep the meatballs the same size to ensure even cooking)
raw meatballs
Mix Made Eleven Meatballs
My Preferred Cooking Method:
  • Preheat oven to to 220C
  • Heat olive oil in a frying pan
  • Add the meatballs and cook until browned on the outside (around 6 minutes)
  • Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce (see below for recipe and directions) and cook in the oven for 10 minutes
  • Serve
The Smoking Method:
meatballs in smoker
Stovetop Smoking
  • Put the smoker onto the preheated hob ring
  • Put the lid on leaving a 1cm gap between the lid and smoker
  • Once you see smoke close the lid and smoke for 20-25 minutes
smoked meatballs
Smoked Meatballs
Ingredients For The Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 Tin of Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 Level Tablespoon Sugar
  • 6-8 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 250ml Gluten Free Chicken Stock (I use Knorr Stock Pots)
  • Good Pinch of Salt
Directions:
  • Put the tinned tomatoes into a blender or mixer
  • Add the sugar and basil
  • Mix until smooth
  • Put into a casserole dish (or similar so long as it has a lid)
  • Add the chicken stock
  • Season with salt
  • Mix well
homemade tomato sauce
Use Fresh Basil Over Dried When Possible
  • Once the meatballs are cooked add to the sauce, cover and put into a 220C preheated oven
  • Cook for 10 minutes
  • Serve
I didn't have any fresh basil for this last night so I used dried, a level tablespoon worth. It's not as good using dried but as an alternative it works just fine.

A thin slice of Mozzarella laid on top of each meatball when served is optional but lovely.

This is a really quick meal to make but it's packed full of flavour. Adapting this to be gluten free wasn't necessary, some meatball recipes may use breadcrumbs as a binder but there's really no need, I think of that as just wasteful filler. Overall this is a naturally gluten free recipe, so very easy to make but not very exciting if you fancy a challenge!

So there you have it, gluten free meatballs and tomato sauce, done! You can also use this sauce for pasta but the cooking method is different.

I'm fighting off the cold once again, it's a constant battle where I'll be fine for a few days then it will attack and get ever so much closer. Think I'm winning though. I'm very much looking forward to a long weekend of comfort food indulgence, maybe some recipe experiments for Free From G too.

Roll on Friday night dinner, for that is where the weekend truly starts.

Back tomorrow.

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