For the tomato sauce
- 1 kg (2.25 lb) tin chopped tomatoes
- 100-150ml (3.5-5fl oz) olive oil
- 4 large shallots, peeled, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
- sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
For the stew
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
- 1 onion, peeled, chopped
- pinch dried chilli flakes
- 175 ml (6fl oz) red wine (optional)
- 1.50 tsp smoked paprika
- 750 g (1.5 lb) pork mince
- 2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 medium cooking chorizos, chopped
- 400 g (14fl oz) canned white beans (such as butter beans or haricot beans), drained, rinsed
- Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots, thyme leaves and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
- Add the remaining olive oil and the chopped tomatoes, stir well to combine.
- Cut a disc of greaseproof paper (1cm/½ inch) smaller than the diameter of your saucepan. Cover the surface of the tomato sauce with the greaseproof paper disc. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cook gently for at least an hour, or until the sauce has thickened.
- When the mixture has cooked and thickened, set aside.
- For the stew, heat one tablespoon of the oil in a casserole over a medium heat. Add the carrots, pepper, garlic, onion, half the fennel, half the cumin and dried chilli and fry, stirring regularly, for 6-8 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
- Add the red wine and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the tomato sauce and the smoked paprika and return the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened.
- In a bowl, mix together the pork mince, half the toasted crushed fennel seeds and ground cumin, using your hands.
- Separate the mix into preferred sizes and roll into balls. The size of a ping pong ball is perfect for this recipe.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Add the meatballs, in batches, and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning regularly, until browned all over. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs.
- Add the browned meatballs and the chopped chorizo to the tomato stew mixture. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- Stir in the white beans and heat through for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Wade's top tips: Pork is quiet cheap right now and you could ask your butcher to mince it for you. If you wanted you could also use turkey instead as an even cheaper alternative. The bigger you make the meatballs the longer they will take to cook. The tomato sauce can be made well in advance & any sauce you do not use in this recipe can be left to cool, then split into portions and frozen until needed. Obviously you could use a ready-made sauce but making it yourself keeps the cost down. Covering the sauce with the greaseproof paper will prevent the sauce from drying out as it reduces and cooks. Toast all your spices before adding them to the pork mix as this will enhance the flavour and also help with cooking them out. If you do not want to use red wine you can leave it out but you will be cooking out all the alcohol from it so no real need to worry.