Lamb meatballs in Italian sauce (or Ethiopean sauce)

Serve with rice or pasta

  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Olive oil
  • White wine
  • Herbs – fresh if possible – savory and marjoram are good. Tie up a bundle so you can take them out later. Alternatively, for the Ethiopian version, add a couple of teaspoons of berbere spice mix.
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lamb mince
  • Egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • Aniseed – crushed, and more of this than the herbs and paprika. If you can’t find aniseed you can use fennel seed instead.
  • Paprika
  • Garlic or chilli (optional)
  • Salt

Cut the celery very fine, and the onion too (though it breaks down more easily so not so important to get it fine. Start gently sautéing them in the oil. Skin the tomatoes, chop and add them too. If you are using cherry tomatoes you don’t need to skin them – just cut them up a bit. When the onion is transparent add the tomato puree, some wine and the bundle of herbs and cook very gently with a lid on for at least half an hour, maybe more. Take out the bundle of herbs.

Mix mince & egg together well and then add a few breadcrumbs and the herbs, paprika and a little crushed aniseed, maybe a little chopped garlic or chilli if you like. Form the mixture into small balls – a bit smaller than ping-pong balls. Then fry them in some oil until they are mostly browned on the outside.

All this can be done ahead of time. When you are ready to eat, cook some rice or pasta and put the meatballs into the sauce and heat it up.