Autumn is definitely here - coats have been dusted off, the heating has been turned on and it's now dark when I wake up each morning. I really don't mind though because it's the start of the comfort food season (which seems to last until about April…).
What's better when you get home after a long day than getting cozy, drawing the curtains to shut out the miserable weather and sitting down to a big bowl or plate full of something to warm you from the inside? There are so many dishes that tick that box but one of my favourites, and a recipe I've used for probably about 10 years, is baked meatballs.
These meatballs are ridiculously easy to make and by baking them you don't need to use any additional oil, in fact by baking them, excess fat from the beef comes out of the meatballs during baking!
Preheat your oven to 185C (fan oven).
Mix the beef mince, sausage meat, peppers, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and seasonings together in a bowl making sure everything is thoroughly combined. I like my meatballs to be quite smooth so once everything is combined I give it all a quick whizz in a food processor. If you like them to be more chunky then mixing by hand is fine.
Chill for about 20 minutes - this allows the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture which will help to stop the meatballs from falling apart.
Yet again my kitchen cleaning saviour - foil - helps out with the washing up by lining the baking tray. There's nothing I hate more than scrubbing a baking tray that has baked on whatever it is I'm making so if there is any baking on to be done, I can just pick up the foil and throw it away. Do you have any favourite ways to make clean up easy?
Anyhoot…form the mixture into balls that are all about the same size - mine are about 1 1/2 inches across. If they're all the same size then in theory they will all take the same time to cook!
Bake until golden brown and cooked all the way through. I flipped mine over halfway through to make sure they had even colour. In total it should take about 20 minutes.
Now they do look a little over baked but I do love those crispy bits! If that's not your thing then only bake them until golden brown.
I had my meatballs with a big bowl of pasta, tomato sauce and a slice of garlic bread. Because I made a big batch, I portioned them all up with sauce and froze them meaning I have something in the freezer that I can use for a quick and easy lunch or dinner! If you do freeze them, make sure to defrost them first and then whack them in the microwave until piping hot all the way through.
I reckon these would also taste pretty good in a sub roll with a lovely tomato sauce spooned over the top…
What's your favourite comfort food to eat when the weather starts to get chilly?