Meatballs and polenta

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Serves 4

This is where you can put your two-for-one bargain to good use to make a hearty family meal, or even two meals. My £2.49 packs of Aberdeen Angus minced beef will go a long way when bulked out with some creamy polenta or mash, or even rice, if you want.

For the sauce

1 onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tbsp olive oil
A good knob of butter
1tbsp flour
100ml red wine
500ml beef stock
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes

For the meatballs

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped marjoram or oregano leaves
1tbsp olive oil
500g minced beef
5-6tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp flour
2tbsp vegetable oil

For the polenta

1.5ltrs milk
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
A pinch of nutmeg
150g quick-cooking polenta
200ml double cream
150g freshly grated parmesan

First, make the tomato sauce. Gently cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter for a couple of minutes until they are soft, stir in the flour, and then slowly add the red wine and beef stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps forming.

Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, season and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Gently cook the onion, garlic and marjoram in the olive oil for a couple of minutes until soft, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Mix the onion mixture with the minced beef and breadcrumbs and season well. Mould into about 28-32 balls, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan, lightly flour the meatballs and brown them evenly in the oil; you'll need to do this in a few batches. Drain on some kitchen paper and then add them to the sauce and continue simmering for about 15 minutes, topping up with water if the sauce is getting dry.

Meanwhile, to make the polenta, bring the milk to the boil in a thick-bottomed pan, then add the garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and nutmeg, then simmer for 5 minutes before whisking in the polenta.

Cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often so that the polenta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the parmesan and cook for a further 5 minutes and re-season if necessary. Serve the polenta on to a plate, and spoon over the meatballs and tomato sauce.