I’ve not done a sensible supermarket shop for a few weeks, so this meal was born out of a rummage in the freezer and storecupboard.
I love making tomato sauces, but trying to get the balance of flavours right can be a bit tricky. Matthew’s particularly particular about how he likes his, and I can never seem to get it quite right.
So I tried a slightly different approach by using spring onions, a bit of soy sauce, a small amount of soft light brown sugar, a generous splurge of red wine and a liberal handful of fresh thyme. I also included a carton of red kidney beans to pad out the sauce and get a portion of pulses into the kids’ diet.
It was a total winner and everyone loved it! Not too sweet, not too acidic, just really tasty and the perfect partner to the shop-bought beef meatballs I’d plucked out of the freezer, defrosted and slowly pan fried while the sauce bubbled away.
I served it up with a hearty portion of pasta, but it’d be equally nice with rice, bulgar wheat or potatoes. This is a fantastic hearty family supper that doesn’t take much effort at all.
Meatballs with tasty tomato, thyme and bean sauce
For the sauce (serves 4)
4 spring onions, chopped finely
1 x 400g tin of good quality plum tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, rinsed
1 heaped tsp light brown soft sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 glass of red wine
5 sprigs of thyme – strip leaves and discard stalks
1 x pack of 12 ready-made beef meatballs
1. On the hob heat the olive oil in heavy bottomed pan and gently soften the spring onions for about 5 mins being careful not to burn them.
2. Add the tomatoes to the pan, breaking them down with a wooden spoon. Then add the rest of the ingredients stirring thoroughly until combined.
3. Bring the sauce to an enthusiastic simmer and leave to cook until it thickens – 15-20 mins. During which time you can gently pan fry your meatballs.
4. I then slipped the cooked meatballs into the tomato sauce for a further 5 minutes on a gentle simmering heat before serving.