Rosemary and Cinnamon Meatballs

Who doesn’t love meatballs? They really are one of my all time favourite comfort foods. There’s just something so warming and homely about them that just makes me happy. Perhaps that feeling comes from my first ever memory of eating them…

My Nan was a wonderful cook, and it was at her house that I remember first trying meatballs. Homemade ones of course, packed with loads of flavour. Rich tastes of beef and onion in a garlicky tomato sauce are the main flavours I recall. The main thing I remember though was the texture of the meatballs themselves. They weren’t perfectly rounded, in fact far from it, they were rustic and meaty, but still perfectly tender from slow cooking.

Unfortunately I never got the recipe from my Nan. Hopefully one day I’ll come across it somewhere but until then this one will have to do. Flavour-wise it’s not the same, but everything else that I spoke about comes into action in this recipe. Homely food isn’t meant to look pretty and perfect, it’s just meant to taste good, and this certainly does. My favourite thing about this recipe is the warming taste you get from the cinnamon and paprika. It makes it perfect for a cold, rainy day.

Rosemary and Cinnamon Meatballs

Ingredients

(Serves 4-5)

Meatballs:
500g beef mince
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
Half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of dried breadcrumbs
Plain flour
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Sauce:
Olive oil
200ml red wine
600g chopped tomatoes
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
Sprig of rosemary
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Mix all of the meatball ingredients together (apart from the flour and olive oil) in a large bowl until well combined. Roll into 20 separate meatballs but don’t worry if they’re not perfectly rounded. Rustic is best for this recipe. Roll in a little plain flour and put on a chilled plate and leave to firm up in the fridge for around 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan begin making the sauce. Fry the red onion in some olive oil over a medium to high heat until soft and then add in the paprika and stir well. Cook for a further minute.
  3. Pour in the red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce by a third and then add in the chopped tomatoes. Pour around 200ml of water into one of the tomato tins and then swirl the water around the tin. Add the water to the pan along with the sundried tomato paste, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and the sprig of rosemary.
  4. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  5. In a separate large pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and then brown the meatballs. You may have to do this in batches. After all 20 meatballs are well browned, carefully add to the sauce and then simmer for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Season sauce with salt and pepper but remember your meatballs should already be seasoned.
  7. Serve mixed through with fresh tagliatelle and parmesan or in a bowl with some fresh bread for dunking. Both ways are amazing!

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