big British meatballs
This Jamie Oliver recipe makes a great meal for a cold, winter’s night. When you cut one of the meatballs open, melted cheddar oozes out. He suggests browning the meatballs first in a preheated, roasting pan on the stove top. However, this tends to set off our smoke alarm so I brown them in a cast-iron skillet first instead. It works just as well.
- 2 large onions
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 lb ground pork (or turkey if you don’t eat pork)
- 1 lb ground chuck steak
- 1 handful of bread crumbs
- 3 oz good-quality sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 16 cubes.
- 7 oz finely ground chuck steak
- 1 onion
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- ¾ cup pale ale (optional)
- 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon blackcurrant jam (I use pomegranate molasses instead)
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
For the meatballs, peel the onions, pick the rosemary leaves, then finely chop them together (or blitz in a food processor) and put into a large frying pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil, the Worcestershire sauce, and a good splash or two of water. Cook for around 20 minutes, or until the liquid has disappeared and the onions are lightly caramelized, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, leave aside to cool, then put into a bowl with the ground meat and bread crumbs. Using clean hands mix it all together, scrunching for a minute to create a delicious texture. Divide into 16 equal-sized balls, then poke and push a piece of cheese into the centre of each ball and gently roll into perfect balls. Place in the fridge.
For the gravy, put the ground meat into a large saucepan with a little oil and cook until golden, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, peel the onion and finely chop with the rosemary leaves, then add to the ground meat and cook for another 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Crumble in the bouillon cube, then pour in the ale. Cook away until dark then stir in the flour, jam (or pomegranate molasses), mustard, vinegar, and 3 cups of water. Simmer for around 30 minutes, or until rich and thick, then season to perfection. Preheat the oven to 475ºF and preheat a high-sided roasting pan.
When you’re ready to go, drizzle the preheated pan with oil and add the balls, leaving gaps between them. Blast at the top of the oven for around 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove the pan, pour the gravy over the balls, and pop them back into the oven for about 5 more minutes, to get everything cooking into each other – you can baste the balls with a little gravy to give them a lovely shine. Serve on mashed potatoes or smashed root vegies, with some seasonal greens on the side.
Recipe and photo from Jamie Oliver, Comfort Food