“I’ve been playing around with this recipe for ages and sometimes I like to make the meatballs from scratch,” says Karen Martini. “But one great shortcut that still ensures an outstanding result is to trust your butcher. I use the meat from Italian-style pork and fennel sausages as a base to make full-flavoured meatballs with a desirably soft texture.”
400 g finely minced pork
400 g pork and fennel sausages (quality Italian fat ones), taken from the skin and crumbled
Zest of half a lemon
2 tsp grated nutmeg
100 g parmesan, grated finely
150 g fresh breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 brown onion, diced
1½ tbsp Greek dried oregano
1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
160 ml virgin olive oil
150 g flour
5 potatoes (Dutch creams or desiree for preference, peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm discs)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 L chicken stock
1½ tbsp extra parmesan
1½ tbsp extra breadcrumbs
In a medium-sized fry pan, add the oil, onion and garlic, season lightly, and cook over medium heat, stirring for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Tip into a bowl to cool.
In the bowl of a food processor add the meats and the egg, zest, Parmesan, oregano, and breadcrumbs. Blend until you have a homogeneous paste then tip it into a bowl.
Add the chopped parsley by hand and mix to combine.
Roll the mix into 100-gram balls and roll them in flour. Fry them in a pan with 100ml virgin oil over medium heat, browning them all over (about 5 minutes), rolling them around the pan.
Transfer the balls to a large, rimmed baking tray with sides (approximately 40cm x 25cm), alternating the meatballs with slices of potato slices as you go
Bring the stock and lemon juice to a simmer, add the bay leaves, tomato paste and 60ml virgin olive oil and cook for 3 minutes
Pour the stock mixture over the meatballs and potato in the tray then scatter over the top the extra breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, plus 2 teaspoons of dried oregano.
At this stage you can refrigerate smaller portions ready for a quick cook later on.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220C.
Cover the tray with baking paper and foil, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Uncover and cook for further 15 minutes until golden brown on top and serve.
Karen’s go-to Queen Vic market traders
You’ll find everything you need to create your own pork polpetti e patate al forno at home at the following Queen Vic Market traders, who either offer online/home delivery or are part of the Market’s pre-order and pickup service: