Meatballs in Vegetable and Tomatoe Sauce

These meatballs in vegetable and tomatoe sauce made from scratch will take you to Italy, France and Sweden. Meatballs are a favorite in Sweden. Even Italians love meatballs and serve them in tomatoe sauce. In this sauce I have added even a touch of France with herbs used in Provence cooking.

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 250 g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 red chili, chopped
  • Some fresh parsley chopped
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

Chop all the ingredients.

In a skillet over medium heat cook chopped mushrooms until brown and most moisture has been released, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to let cool.

In a large bowl combine cooled mushrooms, beef, seasoning, onion, garlic breadcrumbs, egg and all ingredients until incorporated. Shape mixture into meatballs about 1 ½ inch (3, 8 cm) . Fry in small batches in butter in a frying pan.

When fried all around on the outside you will finish cooking them through in the sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 big tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 400 ml water
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • Basil to garnish
  • 1 Bouquet garni ( see below for ingredients)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven for 375˚F (190˚C).

Slice the vegetables and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle some salt and olive oil over. Rost the vegetables in the oven until they have some color. Take out and if you wish take the skin off the peppers.

If you have fresh tomatoes you can skin them before roasting. To do that cut a cross in one end. Put them in boiling water for a minute. Take out and place in a bowl with icecold water (put icecubes in). Then it is really easy to remove the skin.

Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Place the cut and roasted vegetables in the pan. Sauté a little more, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, than add the canned crushed tomatoes. Stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, than add the basil. Stir once more, than mix in a mixer.

f you want to make it really authentic make a Bouquet garni with the herbs before adding in the sauce and simmering.

Bouquet-garni

Bouquet garni, which is French for “garnished bouquet,” is a classic herb mixture used for preparing stocks, soups, casseroles, meats, and vegetables. The traditional combination is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, but you may find recipes that include other herbs such as rosemary, basil, chervil, peppercorn, and tarragon. You can make bouquet garni with fresh or dried herbs. If the herbs are fresh, the combination is secured with a bit of cooking twine, while cheesecloth is generally used to wrap the dried herbs, and the bundle is secured with twine. You can also use a teasif.

Using a bouquet garni instead of simply adding the herbs to your dish helps with flavor, texture, convenience, and presentation. Fresh herbs will get soggy and often discolor when left to cook for a long time, and dry herbs are not the most attractive when floating at the top of a finished dish. Bundling up the herbs—whether dried or fresh—also makes for easy removal.

If you would like to use fresh herbs in your bouquet garni, an ideal combination is 4 or 5 sprigs of parsley, 1 or 2 sprigs of thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Gather the parsley and thyme sprigs, place the bay leaf on top, and use a piece of kitchen twine to bind it all together, keeping one piece of the string long enough so you can easily pull out the herb bundle.

If you want a really smooth sauce pour it through a sif.

Pour the sauce back in the pan and add the meatballs and let them simmer in the sauce for 10-15 minutes.

Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes, pickled carrots or pickled red cabbage or pickled red onion and beetroot and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

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