Cooking magazines are such a cheap indulgence (depending on the level of your addiction) and I’m just a sucker for a great cover. The autumn Donna Hay magazine drew me in with the gorgeous layered chocolate cake on the cover but the dish that won my heart is the divine pork, apple, and thyme meatballs.
I actually made this dish twice in the last week because it was so damn good and because I totally forgot to take photos the first time around 🙂
The sauce is simple, rich and a perfect match for the meatballs which were tender, juicy and oh-so-light and delicate. I love the fragrant headiness of thyme and this dish made it a star. Apple is of course the perfect partner for pork which, along with the honey, gave the meatballs a subtle sweetness. A gentle warmth comes from the chilli in the sauce.
These were also a hit with my little one although I gave her the meatballs with a different pasta sauce (no chilli). You could leave the chilli out if you want it to be shared with kids but I think it’s an ingredient worth having in this dish.
We devoured this meal both times!
pork, apple and thyme meatballs – from Donna Hay autumn, issue 50 (reprinted with permission)
1 slice white bread
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
500g pork mince
1 small apple, peeled and grated
1 small red onion, grated
1 Tbl thyme leaves
1/2 cup (40g) finely grated parmesan
1 Tbl honey
1 clove of garlic, crushed
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 Tbl olive oil
1 clove garlic, extra, crushed
1 long red chilli , chopped
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
6 sprigs thyme extra
1 Tbl caster sugar
finely grated parmesan, extra to serve
Place the bread and milk in a large bowl and allow to stand for 2 minutes or until milk is absorbed. Tear bread into pieces .
Add the pork, apple, onion, thyme, parmesan, honey, egg, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Roll 2 tablespoons of mixture into balls at a time.
Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs, for 5-7 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Add the extra garlic, chilli, tomato, thyme and sugar to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Return meatballs to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until cooked through.
Sprinkle with extra parmesan to serve.
The first time I made this the meatball mixture was extremely wet and a bit difficult to handle (even after putting them in the fridge to firm up a bit for an hour). The second time I made breadcrumbs and added them in dry (left the milk out altogether) and this made them a bit easier to handle.
I used the standard blade on my food processor to whiz up the onion and the grater blade to grate the apple. You could do it by hand but I’m all for shortcuts and not keen on all the tears grating an onion entails.
I only used 2 teaspoons of sugar in the sauce and this was just the right amount for my taste and I added 1/4 cup of white wine.
The first time I made it I added mushrooms to the sauce and served it with green beans. The second time I added 150g sugar snap peas and I served it with egg noodles.