This divine Spiced Meatball Stew can be left to cook in the slow cooker whilst you’re out at work, or simmered gently on the hob for around an hour. If you cook it on the stove, do keep an eye on the sauce, and add more water stock, or even more red wine to stop it from drying out or burning.
Before I started hanging out with Jonny, I had this thing where I couldn’t eat minced beef or pork. Or sausages. Or burgers. Or pretty much any processed meat (apart from bacon, obviously).
If I were to eat something mincey and found a ‘miscellaneous bit’, it was game over. My meal was done.
However, I have since come to understand that when you buy decent mince, from a decent butcher, the quality of the mince goes way up and the likelihood of miscellaneous bits goes way way down. Go figure.
Anyways, now I’m all mince happy I’d like to welcome you to the very first meatballs I’ve ever made (or ever eaten!)
The spice used in the meatball mixture is earthier than the ones used in the stew, and they complement each other superbly. They are spiced rather than spicy, so if you’re after heat, notch up the chilli powder. You can always fry up a little bit of the pork mixture for a couple of minutes before tasting to make sure you’ve got it spot on.
- 500 g minced pork
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
- A little fat for frying the meatballs
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 small aubergine diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 250 ml red wine or stock
- 4-6 dark green cabbage leaves such as Savoy or Cavolo Nero shredded
- 1 tin butter beans drained
Pop the minced pork into a large bowl. Add all the meatball spices and mush together with your hands until everything is well combined.
If you want large meatballs (about the size of a golf ball) divide the mixture into 10 and squeeze, then roll into balls. If you prefer smaller meatballs (about the size of a walnut) divide into 20.
Heat up a little fat (butter or dripping would be choice, but oil is fine too) and when it is hot, add the meatballs. Let them sit a while before moving, then try to get that same good colour all over, but without cooking them all the way through.
Meanwhile add all the stew ingredients, minus the cabbage and butter beans, into a slow cooker. Add the meatballs and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours (if you need to cook it longer, that's fine. there's plenty of juice so it won't dry out).
Add the shredded cabbage and butter beans for the last half hour of cooking so they retain some bite and texture.
Because no steam escapes from the slow cooker, the sauce sauce doesn't reduce so will be quite thin. If that doesn't appeal to you, mix a heaped teaspoon of cornflour with a splash of cold water until combines and pour that into the stew 10 minutes before the end of cooking and mix through well. This will thicken it up.