This is an easy dinner meal that can be prepared and baked in less than an hour. I have always loved the combination of pork and fennel, as you have probably read in my previous post on Meat Pie. Fennel gives ground pork texture and subtle spice. The egg and cheese bind the mixture together. And I was inspired to add leafy greens to make this dish a complete meal on its own. You can also substitute ground pork with a plant-based meat such as Omnipork or Beyond Meat.
Baking time: 30 minutes
250 grams ground pork
5-6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 can (approx 14.5 oz) whole tomatoes
1 head broccoli, chop the florets
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced in half
10 leaves of kale (optional), cut the bottom stalk, for arranging at the sides
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Combine ground meat with minced garlic from 2 cloves, fennel, salt, black pepper, turmeric, thyme, chilli flakes and grated parmesan in a medium bowl. Crack 2 large eggs and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
2. Preheat oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of ground meat mixture and roll into a ball using the palms of your hand. Repeat until you get between 15 to 20 meatballs (depends on how big you want your meatballs). Line them on a glass or ceramic baking dish. Drizzle pan and meatballs with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake for 15 minutes.
3. Carefully remove baking pan from the oven and place on a clean and protected work surface (a thick hand towel will do). Pour whole tomatoes and sauce on the meatballs.
Toss in remaining garlic, button mushrooms and broccoli, and coat with tomato sauce. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil. If you have kale, arrange the leaves on the side of the baking dish, forming a frame.
4. Place baking dish back in oven, and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Allow dish to cook slightly before serving.
If you want, you can also sprinkle more grated parmesan cheese on top of the (hot) baking dish and let it melt naturally.
So much flavour and aroma in one bite!