You won’t often find me calling my recipes “The Best” I’m not that kinda girl. It’s a big claim after all and I don’t like to brag! But I think these are the best meatballs in tomato sauce you can make. The recipe is simple tasty and super easy to adapt so what more could you ask for.
So why do I think these are the best meatballs in tomato sauce. Apart from the fact that they taste delicious, they are really easy to make so that’s two big plusses. But the winning factor for me was their adaptability. Depending on how the mood takes me, I make them Turkish style meatballs, or Moroccan style meatballs or Italian style meatballs simply by chopping and changing a few of the flavouring ingredients and what I serve them with.
Lamb, beef or pork mince
I have made these with lean mince lamb which is probably my favourite meat for meatballs. You could of course use all beef or pork. For Italian meatballs a mixture of beef and pork is the norm, but I can seldom be bothered to go to the trouble of buying two types of mince. Of course Moroccan or Turkish Meatballs would never be made from Pork but lets face it these are probably only Moroccan or Turkish in name only I make no claim to authenticity. So assuming you are not restricted by which meat to use, go on and shake it up a bit to find the combination you like best.
For my basic recipe I have been influenced by the spices used in Turkey. I have used Baharat Spice which is a blend of spices including cumin, coriander, paprika and cinnamon. The Blend is used in Turkey and throughout the middle east. To compliment the meatballs I then added coriander, cumin and a little chilli to the tomato sauce. I have chosen to serve this with brown rice cooked in a pressure cooker to save time, but any type rice would make a good side for these meatballs.
For a Moroccan style meatballs I simply swap the Baharat spice for ras el hanout a north African spice mix. For the tomato sauce, I replace the coriander and cumin with some dried ground ginger and cinnamon. Replace the sugar with honey. I would serve these with flat breads and some natural yogurt seasoned with a little Moroccan salt (available from Bart’s spices, I love it as a seasoning and often use it in place of salt).
For an Italian style meatball , I usually use beef and replace the spices with dried or fresh mixed herbs or fresh basil, in both the meatballs and the sauce. I sometimes drop the chilli in the sauce depending on the mood. Although I am not a huge chilli fan, sometimes just a hint really helps bring out all the flavours. I serve these meatballs with spaghetti or another pasta and a good sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley. Not forgetting the Parmesan cheese!
Step By Step Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
The Best Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
For the meatballs:
- 500 g lean minced lamb
- 1 tbsp Baharat ras el hanout or dried mixed herbs
- ½ tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
- 1 large onion , chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic , chopped
- 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp sugar
To make the meatballs:
- Place the lamb in a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients and mix well with your hands until well combined.
- Roll into small balls about 2cm/1in thick.
- Place them in a frying pan and cook over a medium high heat until browned on all sides. Then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
To make the sauce:
- Add the onion to the pan and cook gently for a few minutes until softened and beginning to colour. Stir in the garlic and spices.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes and honey bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened slightly.
- Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, Season to the spice to taste and serve.
So there you have it one recipe three styles of meatballs. Now thats what I call the best kind of recipe.