Food to warm the heart

You get days where you have been as busy as a May fly but things have all slotted into place, maybe only by a hairs breadth, and you may have had to hold your breath a couple of times, but in place the day has slotted.

It's days like this you want food that warms the heart, food that says; this is a good day. 

This day is a day for Meatballs in Goulash.....I promise you, it is. Hot Paprika, onions, peppers, garlic, noodles, poppy seeds....

So for the ingredients.

Two approaches to the meatballs, and I frown on neither approach, remember you've worked hard all day so no meatball snobbery here.


Method 1. 
Buy fresh meat meatballs from the supermarket.

Method 2. 
12oz lean minced pork
12 oz lean minced beef
1/2 red pepper very finely chopped 
1 fat buddha of a clove of garlic (crushed or finely chopped) 
a fistful of flat parsley roughly chopped
1 egg
seasoned flour, this is flour with sat and pepper...! (You don't buy it btw, just chuck some salt in and grind or shake some pepper in)
Vegetable oil (you can use Olive but vegetable has a higher burn point so you should get a better brown on your balls).

FOR THE SAUCE (I'm not going to advise a shortcut on the sauce as the sauce is so simple yet tasty I haven't found a supermarket version that holds a candle to doing it yourself.)

2 very level tspoons of hot paprika. Be careful on this as different companies produce Hot Paprika with different hotness levels. I'd recommend going with the two level teaspoons if this is your fist outing with this dish. BTW, it could really do with being Hungarian Paprika.
1 medium onion chopped 
1/2 medium red pepper, (this is the other half of the pepper from the making of the meatballs (see what I did there?) if you only have peppers of other colour in the fridge use those, let's not be overly purist hey...!
another fat Buddha of a clove of garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
A tin of chopped tomatoes or 1lb of ripe tomatoes
1/2 a tub of creme fraiche.

You'll also b=need a heavy bottomed casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.

1st make the meatballs.

I a large bowl pt in the minced pork and the minced beef chopped red pepper, garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs (if you don't have breadcrumbs don't stress, these are really to make them go further and some people don't like too meaty a meatball).

Mix them all well, and I have yet to find an implement that is better than your hands at this, get in there and mash it all together, and then mash it some more. if however his is too uck an idea ten a big fork will do the job.

Now you're aiming for 24 meatballs with this amount of ingredients. once you've got your meatballs all sorted you want to roll them in the seasoned flour. I find a takeaway container really helpful for this as per the pic below... Roll them around or use your hands

Now in the casserole dish heat up the oil to HOT, we want to get a really good colour on the meatballs.  and they'll taste that much better. You don't have to do them all in one batch, do six at a time, get them brown take them out and pop them on a plate then do the next six etc.

Once all meatballs are browned it's time to make the sauce.


Put the chopped onions into the casserole dish but turn the heat down, we want the onions to soften not colour, a low heat makes them soft and sweet, a high heat firm and coloured. We want soft and sweet for this dish.

After about five minutes add in the chopped pepper

Another three to five minutes put in the garlic

give it about a minute then add the paprika nd the left over flour mix well 

NOW add your tomatoes and maybe half a tin of water.

Bring up to simmering point and now put the meatballs in the sauce, put the lid on and put it all in the oven.

Half way through take it out and give it a good but gentle stir, 

For the noodles, use about 3 oz of tagliatelle, or spaghetti per person, bring to the boil and when cooked use 1/2 oz of butter and let it melt through the noodles, take the dish out of the oven, swirl in the creme fraiche, pile the noodles on plates and serve up your food for the heart.


drewrobo .