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Beef meatballs in spiced tomato sauce


We love a one-pot dish – it makes life so much easier when you can’t face washing up. Make the meatballs and sauce in advance when time is on your side, then heat them up on a frantic midweek evening. Serve with spaghetti or hunks of crusty, fresh bread.

Kcal: 440 per serving

Saturated fat: 8.2g per serving

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (serves four):

For the meatballs:

  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 large peeled onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tsps each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsps olive oil, for frying

For the sauce:

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2cm piece peeled ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tins (800g) tomatoes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 20g fresh coriander, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Step 1: Make the meatballs by putting all the ingredients (except the oil) in a bowl and squeezing together with your hands to make a smooth mixture. Form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut, making about 20.

Step 2: In a deep, heavy frying pan, heat two tablespoons of oil over a medium heat and fry the meatballs until evenly brown all over. Don’t overcrowd them, so fry in batches if necessary. Remove them to a plate and set aside.

Step 3: To make the sauce, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes so it begins to brown. Add the allspice, cinnamon and chilli and stir. Add the tomatoes and season well. Stir, then lower the heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes or until you have a thick, concentrated sauce.

Step 4: Add most of the chopped coriander and stir well, then return the meatballs to the pan. Cover them in the sauce and cook for about five minutes to let the flavours mix. Sprinkle over the rest of the coriander and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

From In One Pot by Blanche Vaughan (£18.99, Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Eat with …

Wine expert Jane Parkinson recommends the perfect pairing

Marks & Spencer Negroamaro 2011, £6.49

Puglia is a top tip if you’re looking for a region that has handsome, punchy reds. This one, made from the local grape Negroamaro, has tantalising but subtle aromas of dry spices and Mediterranean herbs. Although it’s soft in texture in the mouth, it’s fresh too, tasting of liquorice and blackcurrants.



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