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Vanessa Opera's Beef balls with hidden Autumn vegetables

Vanessa Opera's Beef balls with hidden Autumn vegetables

For more, visit  Food Opera.

2-4 tablespoons Olive oil for sautéing and baking 
1 carrot finely chopped
1 stick of celery finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 small wedge of pumpkin or butternut squash finely chopped
4 tablespoons of flour or breadcrumbs
300g beef mince
Salt and pepper to taste
Tomato sauce for dipping

1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees

2. Finely chop onion, celery, carrot and pumpkin. Sautée with olive oil until soft .
This process takes a while but the softer the vegetables, the better it is to hide in the meatballs. Keep the element on low and use the lid as the steam helps soften them. When soft either mash with potato masher or blitz in a blender or food processor.

3. In a bowl mix together the mince and the cooled vegetable mixture.

4. Add tablespoon by tablespoon of flour or breadcrumbs. You may need a bit more or less. You are aiming to get a consistency that is firm enough to roll into balls.

5. Coat your hands with a dusting of flour as this makes rolling into balls easier. This mixture makes 24 small balls (great for kids and small mouths) or 12 large balls.

6. Place balls in a baking tray and either spray with olive oil or add a bit to the bottom of the tray and give the tray a bit of a shake to coat the balls with oil.
Bake for 15 - 20 mins

7. Serve hot or cold dipped into tomato sauce

These are also great added to pasta, dropped into soups, in lunch boxes or served as party snacks.

Other ideas - use chicken/pork mince or sausage meat - just remove skin from the sausage.