Pork, Apple & Thyme Meatballs in Tomato Chilli Sauce
(gluten, dairy, egg, soy & nut free)
I get excited about strange things. My local butcher sells mostly free range meat, and when I asked if they had any pork mince, they told me to pick whichever cut I wanted and they would mince it for me. For some reason, the idea of freshly minced free-range scotch fillet pork sounded so good, I couldn’t wait to get home and make up these meatballs. Now I keep thinking of all the things I can make with different types of meat minced. I’ve always thought about buying a mincer, but this is even better. Any meat I want freshly minced, and I don’t have another appliance to clean – happy days!
I was worried that adapting this recipe to remove the bread, milk, eggs & cheese would take away from them. But I am very happy to say, that they are moist, light, hold together well and taste absolutely spectacular (the original recipe is from Donna Hay Magazine Ed50). Instead of grated apple, I used apple sauce as a binder, since I have taken out the eggs. I don’t think you can really taste any difference, they are just as good as I remember them to be. Trust me, these take meatballs to a whole new level.
1/2 cup rice crumbs (I use Casalare brand)
2 tablespoons rice milk (I use Vita-soy protein enriched rice milk)
500g pork mince
1 small red onion, grated
3 tablespoons apple sauce
1 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove of garlic, crushed
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 long red chilli , thinly sliced
810g can chopped tomatoes
6 sprigs thyme extra
1 tablesoon Pukara Estate caramelised balsamic vinegar (or use same amount of caster sugar if you can’t find the caramelised vinegar)
Extra thyme leaves to sprinkle on top when serving
1) In a small bowl, mix the rice crumbs and rice milk together, and leave to the side. (if you can have gluten & dairy, you can use 1 slice white bread torn up and soaked in 1/4 cup milk instead).
2) In a large mixing bowl, add the pork, apple sauce, grated onion, thyme, honey, garlic, rice crumb mixture, salt & pepper.
3) Roll about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
4) Heat the oil in a fry pan over a medium heat and cook until browned on all sides. Remove from heat.
5) In a saucepan, add the chopped tomatoes, chilli, garlic, thyme & balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt & pepper. Simmer over a medium-low heat for 5 mins. Add the meatballs to the sauce and stir through, continue to simmer for another 5-10 mins or until meatballs are cooked through properly.