Chances are you've come across recipes for meatballs in tomato sauce but I'm going to recommend mine to you because it's one of those that is perfect for us stockpilers - it uses items from the freezer, garden, pantry and stockpile cupboard.
The trick to this dish, and most other meat dishes, is to develop flavour in the meat by caramelising the sugars when you fry it. Caramelising is the process where you add a little oil to the frying pan, add the meat balls and let them fry to a brown stage without burning. The brownness that develops during that stage adds a huge amount of flavour to the final dish. Adding uncooked meatballs to a sauce will not give you the fine flavour that caramelising will. As most of you know, I cook from scratch and don't add bouillon cubes, stock powder, soup mixes or pre-cooked sauces. I prefer to develop the flavour already in the ingredients to build up in stages as I go. The result is a wholesome meal full of flavour but with no preservative or artificial flavours added.
MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE
750 grams (2 pounds) minced beef (ground beef)
1 large onion
herbs - I used parsley, oregano, bay and marjoram. You could also use chives, chilli, thyme or basil.
4 slices of old bread
¼ cup milk
salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
whatever herbs you used in the meatballs, add here too, finely chopped.
several leaves of silverbeet or spinach, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tin tomatoes - or your home canned tomatoes, about 2 cups
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
Soak the old bread in the beaten eggs and milk. Finely chop the onion and herbs. I do this in a little processor so it's very fine. These are very small meatballs so your ingredients need to be very finely chopped. Add the meat to a bowl and add the soaked bread, leaving the rest of the egg mixture to one side. Add the chopped onion and herbs and mix with your clean hands. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whatever egg mixture is left over, add now and mix in so the meat and the other ingredients are thoroughly combined. Wash your hands, then with wet hands, form the meat into little balls.
Heat up your frying pan, add a small amount of oil and when the pan is hot, add the meatballs. Turn the balls so that all sides are able to brown. When the meatballs are brown all over, remove them from the pan to a plate and keep them to one side.
To make the sauce:
Use the same pan you fried the meat in. Add the chopped onion and garlic and stir while it cooks. Be careful as the garlic can burn. If it does it will add a bitter taste to you meal. When the onion is soft, add the tomato paste and stir in. Cook for two minute to get the raw taste out of the tomato paste. Add the tomatoes, chopped silverbeet/spinach and herbs and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste and the teaspoon of sugar. The sugar takes the acid taste off the tomatoes. If you're using your own home grown tomatoes, you probably don't need the sugar. Bring the sauce to the boil, then turn the heat right down to a simmer. Add the meatballs and continue cooking, very slowly, for 20 minutes.
Serve with pasta and a garden salad.
This amount is enough for at least two meals for Hanno and I, with a lunch for me to take to work. It can be frozen for a couple of months or whatever your freezer's recommendation is for processed meats or sausages.
I was going to answer a question about cleaning my soap making utensils and using them for other tasks. I have some thoughts that go along nicely with that topic, so I'll write a post about it all tomorrow.
I'll check those registrations now for the members who had trouble registering yesterday. So far we haven't had many problems with the registering and it's much easier than the other forum. The moderators have worked very hard to bring over as many of the old threads as they could manage but we're also keeping the old forum as an archive you can dip into. All the signs indicate that this forum will be better than the old one, it's user friendly and many of the members are used to the format of VBulletin. When we are all settled in, there will be swaps, challenges, competitions and prizes in each of the sections. It's already a bustling community full of people eager to learn and pass on what they know. The atmosphere is calm and friendly and the threads are building up nicely. Over 300 people have signed up in the past 24 hours, why don't you join us?