Home-Made Meatballs with Sweetcorn Recipe
I’ve given a home-made meatballs recipe before, with emphasis on the Greek/Turkish Kofte style. This one is slightly different – more general, if you like, to be adapted to pretty much any kind of meat or fish you wish to use. There were two inspirations for this post, the first involving a kind of “guilty pleasure” revisiting of a favourite store-cupboard standby of my youth, which then reminded me of the kitchen concoctions of an old friend, of which more below.
I love to cook: I wouldn’t waste my or your time with this blog if I didn’t. However, I will admit that sometimes I am too busy, or just too lazy to cook “properly” and, like any normal human being, will turn to the take-away or convenience foods. Not so long ago, I was on my way home. It was late, and I was hungry, and the only food shop open was the little metro supermarket. I walked round, fairly uninspired, until my eye fell on the tins of meatballs. I used to love these as a kid, so I paid up, took them home, and had them on my plate ten minutes later. Frankly, they weren’t very good, and I knew that I could do better. One good thing came from the meal, though: I had no convenient veg other than a small tin of sweetcorn kernels. I tipped these in with the meatballs, and, although the meatballs themselves were poor, the combination of flavour and texture was promising.
It was this late-night combination of tins that reminded me of my old friend Tim’s culinary exploits. We were in a band together, and as he lived quite some distance away, he would often stay over at my place after rehearsals or gigs, and he always came prepared to feed himself – always with three random tins in his bag. One would be some kind of meat, such as frankfurters, meatballs or corned beef; one would be beans of some kind, and the third usually small potatoes. All would be tipped into a pan, heated until ready, then wolfed down. We came to call it Timmie’s Bean Bake, and Tim himself got a new nickname as “The Kennomeat Kid” (for those not from the UK, Kennomeat was a well-known brand of tinned dog food).
I am pleased to say that I have generally long moved on from the days of eating out of tins, and these meatballs are much better than anything you can buy in a can. They freeze well, so you can make up a big batch, and never need to open a tin again.
Meat-wise, you can use any meat (or fish) you like, and leftovers are fine. However, just as with home-made burgers, I think it is a mistake to use meat that is too lean; a little fat helps to lubricate the meatballs, and to keep them flavoursome. If you are using leaner meats such as chicken, turkey or rabbit, for example, then add around ten percent by quantity of minced/ground belly pork or streaky bacon.
Do season well with salt and pepper, and use whatever herbs you like. You can use breadcrumbs or bread paste, as in the kofte recipe if you like, but I have omitted them here to give a firmer, denser, more “chewy” texture.
Nothing beats fresh corn straight off the cob, but I think that sweetcorn does work fairly well when canned or frozen, and is a useful store-cupboard staple.
Home-Made Meatballs with Sweetcorn Recipe: Ingredients
1lb/450g minced/ground meat – either raw, or leftover cooked meat
4oz/115g sweetcorn kernels, stripped from the cob, from a tin, or defrosted from frozen
1 small egg, beaten (you may not need all of it)
Finely chopped herbs to suit the meat and your own personal taste
Plenty of salt and pepper
A little plain/general purpose flour for dusting
A little oil for shallow frying
Home-Made Meatballs with Sweetcorn Recipe: Method
Using your hands, combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a big bowl – use just enough of the egg to bring it all together; you may not need it all. Dust some flour onto your work surface, flour your hands, and divide the mix into around sixteen pieces, rolling them into walnut-sized balls.
Gently fry the meatballs, turning until golden brown and cooked through – ten to fifteen minutes.