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In the heat of summer, why do we eat hot food? There is that theory that a hot salsa makes you sweat which lets water evaporate off your forehead which cools you. I’m not sure about that.

Thing is, even in the summer there are some hot, temperature wise, food we love. Steak, sizzling off the grill. Or those burgers.

Or, if you are cooking inside, meatballs. I don’t think a month can go by without Suzi mixing up a batch of meatballs. She has a favorite recipe, from Ann Nurse in Brooklyn, but Suzi will do some experimenting [Please don’t tell Ann!].

This recipe is from Lidgate’s, The Meat Cookbook. You can read my review here. Lidgate’s is a landmark butcher shop in London. This recipe is actually very much like Ann’s: high end meat combined with good cheese. All you need to complete the recipe are some standards to supply liquid and binding: egg, breadcrumbs, and, of course, parsley.

This recipe says it serves 4. That is not going to be true. You are going to want seconds, so this recipe will work for 2 people. If there are more of you, scale appropriately or you can expect sounds of pain. It’s that kind of meatball.


Veal and Gruyere Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Yield: serves 4 [sort of]


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound minced veal
  • 2 ounces Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 ounce dry white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • Two 14-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 ounces red wine
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Pinch or more of caster sugar, to taste
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers


Put the veal into a mixing bowl with the cheese and parsley. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and a good few twists of pepper. Add the egg and mix thoroughly using your hands. Form into 24 walnut-sized balls, place on a plate and chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put all the sauce ingredients into a large saucepan. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer, half-covered, for 1 hour. (If you are in a hurry, you can leave the pan uncovered and the sauce will be ready to eat in 20 minutes, but it tastes better if allowed to cook longer so that the flavors meld and mellow.)

Place the breadcrumbs on a plate and roll the chilled meatballs in them. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the meatballs in 2 batches, turning them so that they brown all over. Carefully add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Cover with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and allow the sauce to bubble away if you want to reduce it slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning, remembering that the meatballs are already seasoned with the salty cheese. Serve with pasta, or boiled or sautéed potatoes.


Source: Lidgate’s, The Meat Cookbook, [Mitchell Beazley, 2016]