Turkey, Pork Sausage & ‘Nduja Meatballs

Meatballs such as these are the essence of speedy but substantial midweek cooking and are surprisingly simple and easy to put together. Turkey is a high protein and lean meat with good flavour but because of the lack of fat can dry easily. The fattiness of the pork sausage adds a pleasing succulence to the meatballs, helps to prevent them from drying out and adds an already seasoned meat to the mix making them a very useful ingredient here and in other meatballs. Be careful though, a good quality, high percentage of pork sausage is important here but feel free to experiment with different varieties; a pork sausage with fennel for example could be an interesting flavour inclusion. ‘Nduja is a spreadable spicy pork sausage native to Calabria in Southern Italy that is typically used as a pizza topping but can also simply be spread on bread or used in pasta sauces. Bold, rich and with a fiery heat a little goes a long way so in this meatball recipe it adds a nicely muted but present chilli kick that lifts the dish to something a little bit special. Of course if you can’t get your hands on it these meatballs are wonderful as they are without so just omit it if your tastebuds desire.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 400g turkey breast mince
  • 400g approx. good quality pork sausages (at least 80% pork), skins removed
  • 4 cream crackers finely crushed
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 heaped dessert spoon of ‘Nduja, approx. 40g
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary, leaves removed from stem and finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano finely chopped or one tsp dried oregano
  • 25g grated parmesan
  • 1tsp sea salt flakes (1/2 tsp of fine salt) and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to Preheat oven to 180°C Fan, 400°F, Gas Mark 6
  2. Place all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) into a large bowl and using clean hands scrunch all of the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Taking golf ball sized pieces of the mixture roll between the palms of your hands into meatballs. You should get approximately 20-24 meatballs with this amount of mixture.
  4. Place on a baking paper/silicone sheet lined baking tray and chill for 15 minutes to chill and firm up.
  5. When ready to cook drizzle over a little olive oil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes turning halfway through.
  6. Serve with a simple tomato sauce (homemade recipe below or good quality shop bought), pasta of choice and lashings of grated parmesan.

A simple tomato sauce such as this is really easy to throw together at short notice using common, easy to hand fridge and pantry ingredients. Any tomato sauce like this also freezes incredibly well so I often up the quantities, batch cook and freeze for again to stir through pasta or to add to tomato based stews or sauces. As it is all about the tomatoes here try to use good quality tinned varieties for this; tins of cherry tomatoes are good or whole plum tomatoes either chopped before cooking or bruised and broken down with the back of a wooden spoon as they cook. Of course chopped tinned tomatoes will also work but may require a pinch of sugar as the tend to lack the natural sweetness of whole tinned tomatoes. If you want to add basil to this simply add at the end of cooking to keep the flavour of the herb fresh and vibrant. I like to use a chicken stockpot in this as it seasons the sauce but also adds a depth of flavour to a quick cook sauce but substitute with a vegetable one if desired. As bought stock tends to be quite salty be careful of this when seasoning, making sure to taste the sauce and adjust accordingly to your taste.

Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Good splash of dry white or red wine (optional) approx. 100ml
  • 2 tins of good quality tomatoes 
  • 1 Knorr chicken stockpot
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over a high heat and add the onion. Reduce the heat to low and cook the onions for about 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and dried oregano and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add a the wine (if using), turn up the heat and reduce slightly before adding the tinned tomatoes and stockpot. Stir everything together, bring to a boil before reducing the heat to a low simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes (or longer if you have time) until the sauce has slightly reduced and thickened.
  3. Taste, and adjust seasoning by sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Turkey, Pork Sausage & ‘Nduja Meatballs

Indian Spiced Roast Chicken

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