At the weekend, when my eight-year-old and six year-old children come to stay with me, we always have the same conversation. I ask them what I should cook them for lunch. Would they perhaps like roast chicken? A nice piece of salmon? A Chinese stir fry? And the answer is always the same. "We want your meatballs". Invariably I succumb to the pressure, partly because my recipe is both inexpensive and nutritious, and partly because, like my kids, I do enjoy a meatball.
Over the years I have tweaked the recipe to incorporate a little more in the way of veg as, like many kids, mine only eat vegetables that are invisible to the naked eye. Whereas most recipes call for the meatballs to be fried first, I tend not to. One day I was feeling a little lazy and just dropped them into the sauce, and realised they tasted just as good and were lower in fat as well. Serve the dish with your carbohydrate of choice - it goes equally well with rice, pasta, couscous or even quinoa. But if you do make this recipe for your own little ones, be warned - you may never be allowed to make anything else again.
For the meatballs
● 500g minced beef
● 50g matzah meal
● 1 egg
● 1 onion grated
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
● 400g tin tomatoes
● 1 onion finely chopped
● 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
● 1 carrot grated
● 1 red pepper finely chopped
● 1 tbsp olive oil
● 1 teasp cinnamon
● 1 teasp allspice
● Salt and freshly ground pepper
● Half teasp sugar
● Put a large pan or casserole dish on a low light. Add the oil, onions, garlic, carrot, red pepper and salt and pepper.
● Sweat with lid on for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
● Add the spices,tomatoes, sugar and a third of a glass of water to the pan. Mix well and simmer gently.
● Meanwhile, make the meatballs by mixing the mince, grated onion, egg and matzah meal and seasoning.
● Shape into golf ball sized meatballs, then drop into the sauce. Simmer on a gentle heat for about half an hour or until the meatballs have cooked through.
● Serve to grateful children