July 8th, 2021
Meatballs are an often requested dinner in our house. Today I share a baked version that is quite revolutionary as there is no browning required on the stovetop. Simply mix, roll and bake.
The meatballs are served with a creamy tahini sauce. Tahini is one of my favourite pantry ingredients and can add a creaminess that often comes from dairy products – something I limit in my cooking due to my sons dairy intolerance. As he has got older he can handle small quantities of dairy and is OK with butter, but I am always looking for ways to minimise it in our meals.
Not everyone is a fan of tahini (and I have included a variation below) as it has a slightly bitter taste. This can be minimised by sourcing fresh tahini. In my experience, tahini in a jar stored at room temperature can become rancid, giving it a more pronounced bitter taste. Also, ‘unhulled’ tahini is stronger in flavour, so I always go for ‘hulled’ tahini. Tahini can sometimes be found in the chilled section at the supermarket (and I always store it in the fridge at home) or source from a bulk food store that has a quick turnover.
The Food Show 2021 – Auckland
I am thrilled to be invited to present at The Food Show in Auckland on Thursday 29th July (2.45 – 3.30 pm). I will be preparing my signature sourdough crumpets and some tasty toppings. Plus sharing some tips and tricks to maintaining a healthy sourdough starter (the key to great bread). If you are in Auckland come and say hi.
Baked Meatballs with Tahini Sauce
- 500 g premium beef or lamb mince
- 1 carrot, grated
- handful finely chopped coriander or parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
- ⅓ cup rolled oats - choose the smaller porridge oats
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch of chilli flakes
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 400 g tomato passata or 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp tahini
- juice of half a lemon
- about ⅓ cup water
- small clove of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 210C (fan 190C).
- In a mixing bowl combine the mince, carrot, herbs, egg, oats, spices and salt. Use your hands or a spoon to thoroughly combine. Check seasoning by making a small pattie and cooking it in a hot pan until brown on both sides. Taste, then adjust the mixture with extra salt if needed.
- Roll the meatball mixture into small walnut-sized balls. Arrange in an oven dish in a single layer with a little space between each - I used a 30cm cast iron frying pan.
- Drizzle the meatballs with olive oil and place the dish into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the meatballs are sealed - there will be some cooking liquid in the base of the pan at this stage. Pour over the passata or chopped tomatoes and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- While the meatballs are cooking make the tahini sauce. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, adding an extra splash of water if required to loosen. Check the taste, and adjust with extra lemon juice or salt if needed.
- Serve the hot meatballs with the tahini sauce on the side, accompanied by sautéed broccoli and cooked quinoa or rice to soak up the sauce.