If you’re looking for a tasty midweek meal that can be batch cooked and tucked away in the freezer then this is your answer! We have this once a week and it goes down a treat, even with a picky 3 year old – hurrah!
It’s only fair to say that this started out as an Annabel Karmel recipe when I first started making it 2 years ago. I’ve changed so much about it over that time as I’ve tweaked it for our family’s tastes that it’s probably not particularly reminiscent of the original but thought I’d best point it out all the same.
PREP TIME – 10 mins to chop veg
ASSEMBLY & COOKING TIME – 50 mins
PORTIONS – approx. 8 adults & 4 kids(Wonderboy has 3 or 4 meatballs per serving and I do 6 or 7 for the adults)
3 onions – finely chopped
4 slices of bread – grated into crumbs (I use wholemeal and I use a hand blender to make breadcrumbs)
2 cloves garlic
3 red peppers – finely chopped
2 jars tomato passata (I use 700g jars so 1.4kg total)
200ml chicken stock
2tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
500g turkey mince (I use turkey breast mince)
30g parmesan – finely grated
1. Fry all the onions for approx. 10mins or until they are cooked through but are still pale in colour.
2. While the onions are cooking, put the breadcrumbs into a large bowl along with the milk. Stir through and leave to soak.
3. Once the onions are cooked, remove half and cool them down as these are for the meatballs. I spread them thinly on a plate and put them in the fridge for 5 mins to cool quicker.
4. While the onions are cooling, you can get on with the yummy sauce. Add the garlic and red peppers and cook for 5 mins or until almost cooked through.
5. Add the passata, chicken stock, tomato puree, sugar and smoked paprika. Stir and leave to simmer while you make the meatballs. Keep an eye on it though and add some water if it looks a bit thick or catches on the bottom.
6. The onions will be cool now so add them to the breadcrumb and milk mixture and stir through.
7. Add the turkey mince and combine well with the breadcrumb mixture. You can try mashing it together with a fork but it’s easier just to use your hands (remember to take any jewellery off!).
8. Add the parmesan to the turkey mince and mix thoroughly so it’s evenly distributed.
9. Roll the turkey mixture into mini meatballs.
10. Pop the meatballs, one at a time, into the simmering tomato and red pepper sauce. Leave to bubble away with the lid on for 15 mins until the meatballs are cooked through. Occasionally stir very gently to avoid them sticking at the bottom. Once they’re cooked, check the seasoning (add more smoked paprika if you’d like) and serve with rice and salad.
This recipe makes approx. 70 mini meatballs and they’re great to freeze once cooked in the sauce. However, the recipe halves just fine if you’re not into batch cooking like me.
I usually portion these and pop them in the freezer to act as homemade ready meals. Just defrost and reheat in the microwave for a few mins depending on how big your portions are. Double check the meatballs are heated all the way through – don’t want any upset tummies! I usually add some water once a portion is defrosted as the sauce seems to thicken in the freezer.