Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tomato Tango Meatballs "Cook Up" Quantities

These have been very popular each time we've made them - I say 'we' because not much happens in the kitchen without others doing their part. This time it was Melinda (9.5) who made the meatballs, with a little help from Timothy (almost 4). Meatballs are time consuming - especially when doing this many - so not always a meal of choice but again like my pasties, worth doing in bulk.

Melinda made the meatballs with
1.9kg beef mince (ground beef)
5 eggs
2 cups of quick oats (for best preparation, soak and dehydrate rolled oats and then whizz them through the food processor to make them smaller)
A few shakes of Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
2tb dried parsley (3 if fresh)
2tb spelt flour

She first breaks up the mince then tips in the oats, followed by parsley, salt and flour.
Mix together with fork so everything is pretty evenly distributed.
Add in the eggs and Worcestershire sauce. Mix briefly with a fork then mush with your hands. Squeezing it through the fingers. Cold eewey work! LOL
Roll into lots of small balls and fry gently in fry pan with a little butter till nicely browned.
(An electric fry pan is an excellent tool to enable a child to do cooking at dining table level instead of the higher level of the stove. It also keeps the kitchen free for me to be working in.)

Once cooked, all the meatballs weighed in at about 2kg. Once the sauce was added, we were up to a bit over 3kg.

About a third of the meatballs in a pasta bowl

Tomato Tango Sauce - this is what makes the meal so popular!

I used:
2 bottles of tomato passata
Either: 2 cups condensed home made beef broth and 4tb(ish) spelt flour
OR: 4tb(ish) gravy powder
Balsamic Vinegar to taste (a few good tablespoons here)

Tomato Passata and beef broth into the pot and simmer it down till it's a bit thicker than commercial tomato sauce. Turn off the heat.
Add in 1/3 of the meatballs, stir in and then  add in the spelt flour or gravy powder. Stirring in immediately.
Pour in the Balsamic vinegar, stir in and taste, add more as needed. I nice strong tang is what I aim for as it tends to disappear a bit in the rest of the cooking.

Put the rest of the meatballs in the bottom of casserole dish and then pour over the sauce with the meatballs
These have been chilling in the fridge for a couple of days before I got to making the sauce. They're a lot darker when first cooked!

Add a little more balsamic vinegar on top and then bake at 200 till hot all the way through.

Serving suggestions:
With mash & vegies
On cous cous with stir fried vegies
Over diced roasted pumpkin and some greens on the side

Also, 'once upon a time' I made this with fresh tomatoes and not Passata... the difference being that I diced the tomatoes (lots of them) and barely heated them before adding in flavouring, thickening and balsamic vinegar. Still works great and retains some of that beautiful 'garden fresh' tomato taste!


  1. Hi, Narelle,

    Thanks for posting this. I was inspired to make meatballs tonight, although I didn't exactly follow your recipe.

    Question: Why do you put in 1/3 of the meatballs in the sauce first? Why not put them all in?

  2. hehe good question Kathy! I tried it the other way a couple of times and changed it to this way because there is less splatter when tipping into the casserole dishes when most of the meatballs are already in there and also, if all the meatballs are in the sauce, it's almost impossible to stir in the thickener (flour/gravy powder)... and if you have no meatballs, the thickener is at a high risk of going lumpy in the sauce!

  3. Thanks! That makes sense!