Venison meatballs

Serves: 4
Course: Main Course
Cooking Time: 2 hrs 0 mins
  • For the meatballs
  • 500g venison mince
  • 30g ricotta cheese
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2tbsp curry powder
  • 1tbsp harissa
  • 3tsp salt and pepper
  • 2tbsp mushroom ketchup
  • For the sauce
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small handful of fennel seeds
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tbsp oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 25g tomato puree
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3tsp sugar
  • Grated Parmesan, as desired

Bring the mince to room temperature and heat oven to 200C.

In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix by hand until they come together well. Roll into golfball-sized rounds until all of the mixture is used up.

Place the balls onto a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned.

Remove from the tray and allow to cool.

In a wide saucepan on a medium heat, heat the oil add the fennel seeds and cook until fragrant – this takes about 1-2 minutes. Add the onions, red pepper and bay leaves. Allow to soften for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the oregano, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and fill up the empty tin twice with water, using this to top up the ingredients. The tomato puree and stock cube then go in before cooking over a low heat until nicely reduced.

Fish out the bay leaves and then using a hand blender, blitz the sauce to a soupy consistency.

Put the meatballs back into the sauce and heat them back up thoroughly. Serve them up with your favourite pasta or some good bread for mopping up the sauce and juices with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

Jess Murphy

Jess Murphy

Jess Murphy, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a Kiwi chef living on the west coast of Ireland