Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fontina meatballs on brioche

Meatballs. Fontina. Brioche. I’ll say write that again. Meatballs. Fontina. Brioche.

Why? Because its cold and I really really felt like meatballs. And when do you ever need a reason for meatballs? Or fontina. Or brioche? Thought as much....

This number begs to be part of your Sunday night ritual. You. This meatbally, cheesey brioche and a pinot. Most undoubtedly more than one (that applies to both the meatballs and the pinot). Easy to make, this is big fisted stuff, the enemy of prissiness but definitely a friend to epic flavour and without doubt the best possible, start to your week ahead.`

Meatballs (this makes more meatballs than you need*)
400g pork and veal mince
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted until fragrant
1 pinch chilli flakes
salt and pepper to season
1 egg
3 tbsp sourdough bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tin cherry tomatoes
1 onion, peeled, chopped
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup red wine
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

330g (2 ¼ cups) plain flour
30g panella sugar
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
100ml warm milk
1 egg and 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten together, at room temperature
200g butter, softened, chopped

To serve
Sea salt flakes and pepper to season
Flat leaf parsley stalks, coarsely torn
Fontina cheese, shaved

To make the brioche combine flour, sugar, yeast, and a hefty pinch of salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix well. Whisk milk, egg and yolk in a separate bowl then, with mixer on low-medium speed, add egg mixture and mix to combine, there will still be some flour muck at the base of your bowl. On medium speed, gradually add butter, mixing to form dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and glossy (4-5 minutes). It will be quite tacky to the touch. Transfer to a buttered bowl, turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1½-2 hours).

Preheat oven to 200C. Meanwhile combine the mince, spices, garlic, egg and sourdough crumbs in a bowl. Using your hands mix until the ingredients are well incorporated. Roll into golf ball sized balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place in the oven and cook for ten minutes or until the balls are just starting to colour.
In a large frying pan, fry the onion in a little olive oil until starting to colour. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for fifteen minutes or until the mixture is starting to reduce. Add the meatballs, turn the heat to low and simmer for a further fifteen minutes until the sauce has reduced again, turning the meatballs often to coat them in the sauce.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface then roll out to a 28cm-diameter round and line the base and sides of a buttered 24cm-diameter fluted tart tin. Cook for ten minutes in the oven until a crust is just starting to form. Remove and smear over some of the tomato sauce and meatballs to just cover, leaving an approximate 3cm edge for the brioche to rise slightly and act as border protection for the sauce and meatballs. Season and return to the oven for another 15 minutes to finish cooking the brioche. Remove, sprinkle over shaved fontina and parsley and serve immediately.

*Leftover meatballs are great with fresh pasta, on fresh baguette.

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