Thursday, 5 April 2012

Chorizo meatballs with roasted tomatoes and wild rice

What's not to like about meatballs? They are so versatile - they go brilliantly with pasta and sauce, are delicious with mash and gravy and add meaty goodness to a soup. If you make your own you can use whatever you like in them - beef, lamb and pork, even chicken (delicious in Asian soups or noodle-based dishes). They are also very easy to make, but because of the quantities you need it's hard to make a tiny batch - better to just go with the flow and freeze the excess for another day.

This makes enough for 12 meatballs - 2 portions.

What you need: 
250g minced pork
About 30g chorizo sausage, finely diced
Fresh breadcrumbs
5 cloves of garlic
1/4tsp each of smoked paprika, cumin, chilli powder (chipotle)
Tomato purée
A pinch of dried oregano
1 tsp each fresh chopped parsley, coriander
Pinch of salt
About 50g wild rice
Cherry tomatoes

What to do:
Put the pork mince in a mixing bowl and add the salt, chorizo, 1 clove of very finely crushed garlic, spices and herbs plus about a tablespoon of tomato purée. Mix everything well together then add enough fresh breadcrumbs to bind everything together. Shape into 12 small meatballs and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Bring a pan of unsalted water to the boil and add the wild rice. Once the water returns to the boil, turn it down to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes.

Put the tomatoes into an ovenproof dish with 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic. Drizzle well with olive and season with sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper. Bake in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes.

To cook the meatballs, heat some oil in a heavy frying pan or sauteuse and fry gently for around 10-12 minutes, turning regularly so they brown all over. Alternatively you can put them on a baking tray or in a shallow roasting tin and bake them for about 25 minutes in the oven (180C), turning them once.

Put the meatballs and tomatoes on a bed of rice and  drizzle over the juices from the dish you cooked the tomatoes in.

Cook's tips:
Add the breadcrumbs gradually - too much too soon and the mixture will be too dry and won't form meatballs properly. If this happens, add a little cold water to the mix.

To freeze the spare meatballs, put them on a plate or small tray first so they don't stick together. When they have frozen pop them into a freezer bag. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

The meatballs go well with rice and some seasonal veg. Alternatively, heat them through in some tomato sauce and serve on a bed of tagliatelle.

Wild rice isn't actually a rice but wild grass seeds. It needs a lot of cooking, like brown rice, and has a deep nutty taste. You should be able to find it in most supermarkets as well as specialist shops.

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