Smoky Baked Meatballs with Chickpeas

This all started with a jar of (diced) chipotle peppers and another wave of excitement as I discovered that they were available in one of my local supermarket aisles and not just by mail order (I know I know) They are smoky, spicy and make the most delectable dishes, mayos, braised and slow cooked dishes. I just love them. A little goes a long way though! I also used a tin of cherry tomatoes I got in Lidl from the Italiamo range, which were lovely so do try and use them, but tinned tomatoes would work too. This dish serves 4 generously with a salad and maybe some crusty bread. On the night in question, I had some leftover potatoes. I chopped them up and fried them until crispy and served them with some mayo mixed with a squeeze of lemon and chopped fresh herbs (dill, basil and coriander – just what I had in the fridge). Yum ūüôā

Meatballs:

400g lean mince beef

1 shallot, minced/finely chopped

1 large clove garlic

3-4 tblsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 egg, beaten

75g breadcrumbs

Sauce:

1 tin cherry tomatoes in juice (or tinned chopped tomatoes)

1 red onion chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tblsp tomato puree

1 tblsp brown sugar

1 tsp chipotle paste

1 tblsp balsamic vinegar

250ml beef stock

1 tin chickpeas, drained

100g grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat 1 tblsp oil in a wide frying pan and gently fry the shallot and garlic for five minutes, until soft, not coloured. Stir in the paprika. Fry gently for one more minute and remove to a large bowl, leaving to cool for a few minutes. Add in the breadcrumbs, egg and mince and mix well. Roll into walnut size balls – I got 23-24. Heat 1 tblsp oil in the pan and fry the meatballs (in batches if necessary) – until nicely browned – it’s not necessary to cook all the way through and set aside in a large ovenproof¬†casserole.

Wipe out the pan and heat another spoon of the oil. Fry the red onion and garlic gently for a couple of minutes, then add in the tin tomatoes, vinegar, chipotle, puree, sugar, beef stock and chickpeas, bring to a simmer and let bubble for 6-7 minutes or until slightly reduced and looking a little glossy. Gently decant into the casserole dish over the meatballs and sprinkle the cheddar over the top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.

 

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