Did you know the Spanish have their own verb for enjoying tapas, such is its popularity? “Tapear” means “to have tapas”. It’s not just the varied and delicious dishes that have earned it this linguistic accolade, but the warm and sociable way of eating and sharing together. Informal and relaxed, traditionally served with a glass of wine, is there any wonder a tapas meal is a recipe for fun and laughter?
We’ve treated you already to Pan Fried Prawns with Chorizo and Sherry, and Pepper and Goats Cheese Tarts, but if you’re looking for more Jo Pratt recipes to complete our #MyHolidayDish tapas ensemble, here’s what you’ve been waiting for.
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
The last but by no means least in the series is meaty and satisfying with a flavoursome herby hit that will have delightful scents wafting through the kitchen of your villa, or at home. Although the recipe calls for pork mince, you could quite easily use chicken, beef or lamb and, as to your taste.
Whatever you decide to use, this is sure to be a family favourite that will feature again and again in your cooking repertoire as a meal in its own right, or as part of a tapas feast.
Let Jo Pratt show you how to bring the flavours all together.
Serves 8 as tapas
For the meatballs:
450g lean minced pork
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
4 tbsp of finely chopped herbs, using a selection of fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint
125g white breadcrumbs, fresh or dried
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tomato sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
175ml red wine
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan ovens/gas 4.
To prepare the meatballs, simply mix everything together apart from the olive oil, in a large bowl, including a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. It is far easier doing this by using your hands rather than a spoon. Alternatively if you have one, you could just whiz everything together in a food processor.
Shape the meatball mixture into 24 balls (smaller or larger if you prefer) and keep to one side.
Add the 3 tbsp of olive oil to a roasting tray. Place in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat up and then add the meatballs. Roll them around so they are coated in the oil and then return the tray to the oven to cook the meatballs for 30 minutes.
During the cooking time, turn the meatballs a few times so they become evenly golden.
While the meatballs are cooking, you can prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or deep-sided sauté pan and gently cook the onion and celery for about 5 minutes until they are softened and start to colour.
Stir in the red wine, tomatoes and bay leaf.
Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until you have a rich sauce.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the browned meatballs to the sauce and cook gently for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot.