Love at first bite.

Karen Kotze's marvellous Meatballs

The English call them faggots, the afrikaans call them frikkadels, I dont know the origin of the meatball, and frankly I dont really care, because all that matters is that I have a fabulous recipe now and I am going to hold on to it.

My brother called me a few days back and asked me for a good meatball recipe. I am ashamed to say, that because I did not have one, I told him to google a recipe.
Yes to google.

I am embarrassed.

But up until now I have never met a meatball I liked. They all seem so aneamic and flavourless, sitting there in an odd flattish ball shape, drowning in some sort of tomatey something sauce. This was not helped along by memories of my mother's truly awful apricot and boiled egg meatloaf. Each time I get the courage to try a new meatball recipe they just disappoint me. I was close to the brink of saying goodbye to meatballs forever.

Then one day my work collegue had meatballs for lunch. She told me that I NEED to try them. At first I was apprehensive.
At the back of my mind the memories of past disappointments lingered. Could I renew the fragile relationship between me and meatballs? Could this chance encounter erase all the bad memories of my past?

I decided to take a leap of faith. I jumped into the nothingness of the New Recipe Abyss and hoped to Heaven something would catch me.
Well, it was love at first bite.

First there was with a distant taste of curry. A smidgen of onion perfumed with the paprika and Garam Masala spice blend. there were some herbs in there, and a hint of garlic. it was truly the most delicious meat ball I have ever eaten.

I have a personal vendetta against lamb mince, I think it is perfectly horrid, and I also detest ostrich mince, so it came as a shock to me to be told that the incredible meatball I had wolfed down was made with Ostrich mince.

There are so many varieties of mince- lean, extra lean, super extra lean, anorexic, the list goes on (OK the last two I made up). But the main thing to remember when buying mince is to look at the ingredients, the cheaper it is the more vegetable protein (like soya) and cereal (carbohydrate fillers) are mixed in and obviously there will be less meat. The best mince, if you can afford it, is made from minced sirloin meat, and can be bought at larny Pick 'n Pays- you can ask at the meat counter, it has a lovely rich red colour, with small flecks of fat, and a fabulous flavour.

Mince also tends to shrink a lot, and a large amount of water seeps out during cooking. This can make it difficult to brown the meat. it is important to cook it at a high temperature (when making Savoury mince or Bolognese for example) to get a good brown colour, and to cook off this water quickly.

The recipe belongs to a friends of mines mum, so all credit goes to her.

Note: I have added a tin of tomatoes to the sauce to make it more tomatoey. For the original recipe, and to keep that curry saucy flavour omit the tomatoes. I also browned the meatballs before adding to the sauce for extra colour, you can leave out this step too. I was smack bang in the middle of the recipe, and I realised I had no curry powder. So I used some crushed chillies, powdered coriander seeds and Tikka spice.

Karen Kotze's Marvellous Meatballs:
500g ostrich/beef mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg
3 slices stale white bread soaked in 80ml milk
1 Tbsp tomato sauce (Karen uses All gold)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Chutney
2 Tbsp garlic & herb spice (Ina Paarman's or Robertson's)
Garlic pepper (Ina Paarman's or Robertson's)

Sauce:
1 small onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
2t curry powder
1 tin good quality Italian tomatoes
2Tbsp water
25ml good quality wine vinegar


For the Meatballs: 
Mix all above meatball ingredients together in a large bowl.
Roll into desired size and brown in a pan with olive oil.

Sauce:
Fry the onion in olive oil. When translucent add curry powder and 1 tin of tomatoes.
Add the water and vinegar. Place the meatballs (frikkadels) in an orderly fashion in the pot, they can be placed on top of each other. Add more water if needed to prevent burning in the pot. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

I served this with fresh buttery rotis and fresh yoghurt with chives.

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