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What do you do when you have people coming over to watch the footy in just under an hour and you happen to have bought a little pack of mince beef from Costco, 3.4 kilos to be exact – well, when a warehouse club gives you industrial serves of mince beef, you make meatballs.

Perfect on a cold, foggy day and much more delicious than traditional mystery meat pies I’m sure these will become a winter staple in your house. The secret is a good hit of paprika and smoky barbecue sauce – trust me, they taste better than they look in the picture.

On, and in case you were wondering, Adelaide won by a point.

Sunday Afternoon Meatballs
makes about 60 meatballs

for the meatballs
1.2 kg beef mince
1 large white onion, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
handful of fresh basil leaves, about 15
2 eggs
100g grated parmesan
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp hot or smoky paprika
2 tbsp mixed herbs
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil

for the sauce
2 tbsp oil
1 large white onion, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
2 tins (400g each) diced tomatoes
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp smoky barbecue sauce
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
basil leaves, for garnish
grated cheddar, for garnish
creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)

serve with sourdough, pasta or rice

to make the meatballs

  1. Chuck the onion, garlic and basil into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are almost a fine dice.
  2. Place the beef mince into a large mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment) and the ground onion mixture, eggs, parmesan and spices. Mix until well combined.
  3. Shape mixture into approx 2″ meatballs.
  4. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat oil and add meatballs to the pan in a single layer. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until browned, then turn them so that they cook on the other side – don’t worry if they’re not cooked through at this stage, they’ll be simmered in tomato sauce later. Set aside.

to make the sauce

  1. Using the food processor again, pulse the onion until it’s a fine dice and set aside.
  2. Blend the diced tomatoes.
  3. Heat oil in another saucepan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the onion and saute until cooked, then add the white wine to deglaze. Add the blended tomatoes, sugar, barbecue sauce, spices and simmer for five minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer covered, on low for another 5 minutes.
  6. Top with basil leaves, grated cheese and/or creme fraiche on the side. Serve with pasta, sourdough or whatever else takes your fancy.