Spelt will make your meatballs crunchier and smokier - a meatball recipe you will not regret!
And then all of a sudden the weather really turned, you know? It reaaaaallly did turn. A week ago I was still indulging in my wearing of lacey edwardian blouses, feeling flushed and hot, the sun bearing down my back every mid afternoon as I took the boy to school. This week? Not so much. My feet are freezing, hands always cold, nose feels like an icicle and out came the trutleneck sweaters in all their glory, out came the Winter coats and my (fake) fur stoles, out came my gloves.
I have also managed to land myself this season's first huge cold, or flu, I dunno. My hubby had it first, then our kid caught it too, and just as I was thinking I was gonna go scott free of it for the very first time in my life since I stopped breastfeeding (a million years ago, me thinks!) I came down with it. I came down hard with it, yikes!! To the point my nose is running and clogged non stop, my throat is sore and itchy, my whole body aches and all I want to do is watch Da Vinci's Demon's (I mean, Riario, right?!?) and listen to 80's soppy love songs like Air Supply's "Making love out of nothing at all". How sad is that?
I also want to indulge in the most supreme forms of comfort food, and I want to read sappy love stories like "Pride and Prejudice" (Oh, Mr. Darcy!!) and "Wuthering Heights" - which makes me want to listen to Kate Bush non stop and singalong to her, and this is not a good sight, trust me. But seeing that I am trying to avoid certain ingredients in excess, and trying to eat immense amounts of veggies, pastas and risottos as supreme comfort for my snotty self are a bit out of the picture as I can't even be bothered to cook them right now. Nor singing to Kate Bush.
One of my all time comfort foods has got to be the well loved and well known spaghetti meatballs, oozing with homemade tomato sauce, every strand of pasta covered in it, the meatballs squishy and moist and huge and meaty and soft... I have cooked this dish to exhaustion, every WInter, when it's cold outside and I want a one pot dish that practically cooks itself. Although rolling out the meatballs may be tme consuming, once you get everything inside one pan, you can actually relax, and sit down to a glass of red.
But the fact is we have bee wanting to try meatballs different ways. I was one of these days reminded of a trip my parents and I went on to Spain, when I was a kid, and I was reminded of a platter of spicy, crunch meatballs I had one night on that trip. I remembered them as the best meatballs I ever tried. I liked especially their crustiness on the outside, so I have been trying to recreate it for ages, now. I tried rolling them in breadcrumbs, in polenta, in cornflour, to hardly no avail. Yes, there was some crunch, but not quite like I wanted it. Yes, they were tasty and yummy, but there was this certain smokiness I was going for, missing out of them. And then one day I kind of nailed it.
I rolled them in spelt flour! Really, I did. It made a world of difference, and if you don't believe me, just try it! Make sure you serve them with a mix of vegetables cooked in a rich tomato sauce, and you won't be sorry! For the meatballs you'll need:
- 250 gr minced meat (I use a mix of beef and pork)
- one medium onion, cut into very small pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, grated finely
- one egg, beaten
- breadcrumbs (there's no exact measure, use it to bring everything together and keep adding until your mix reaches the right consistency)
- salt, black pepper, parsley, chives to taste
- spelt flour, half a cup - add more if needed
Mix the meat with all the seasonings and the veggies. Add the egg and start mixing in the breadcrumbs until your mixture has a consistecy that is easy to work and roll into balls. Start rolling small balls and covering them in spelt flour. Set asside. On a frying pan that can also go into the oven - a cast iron skillet would be perfect! - heat up a tablespon of olive oil, placing the meatballs carefully in the pan. Let them sizzle for a few minutes, until they brown, then turn them on the other side. Allow for a few more minutes of browning and pop them in the oven, heated at 180º. Depending on the size and qauntity of meatballs you have, ten minutes should be about enough. Enjoy them as an entrée, as nibbles, or as a full meal, with the side dish of your preference and a good glass of your favorite rioja!!