Rescue recipes

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It’s been a busy week, what with the teen’s birthday and…well, just the birthday really. I haven’t had time to think about cooking anything new (much to the delight of the 9yo: “We’re not having anything experimental tonight are we?”) let alone write about, so have fallen back on my little black book of meals – you know the kind that you’ve cooked so many times you could make them blindfolded. So apart from those steak sandwiches (which were v.g. and v. quick), I have managed to pretty much empty the bottom of my fridge into a pasta bake one night (crowd-pleaser) and a frittata the other (not so much), while last night I found some sorry looking sausages in the depths of my freezer and turned them into these meatballs.

What are the rescue recipes you rely on when time is short or fridge bare? I would be interested to know, after all, what is a rut for one home cook will be a revelation for another.

Sausage meatballs in a mustard cream sauce

These are good with pasta – I like them with parpadelle – but you could also have them with mash, a jacket spud or some rice.

Serves 4

  • 400g good quality pork sausages or sausagemeat
  • 200g minced pork (you could leave this out but it will give you softer balls fnar fnar)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
  • black pepper
  • optional splash of booze (madeira, marsala, brandy or white wine)
  • 400ml beef stock (I used the Touch of Taste liquid stock, but a good quality cube would do. Or use chicken stock.)
  • 1 dessert spoon dijon mustard
  • 80g full fat creme fraiche
  • chopped parsley or dill to garnish
  1. If using sausages, remove them from their skins by running a sharp knife along their length and peeling back the skin. Mix the sausagemeat and the next five ingredients together in a bowl, then form into about 20 balls. (Use wet hands to stop the mixture sticking.)
  2. Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the balls on all sides. Don’t worry about cooking them through as you will return them to the pan later.
  3. Remove balls from pan and drain on kitchen paper, tip out excess oil then deglaze the pan with a glug of booze (or a whole wine glass full if using wine). Reduce until you have about a tablespoon of liquid in the pan, then add the stock, bring to the boil and reduce the volume by about half.
  4. Whisk in the mustard and creme fraiche and simmer for another couple of minutes. Check for seasoning (you may not need any extra salt if your stock is salty), return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for a further five minutes until cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle over the chopped fresh herbs (if using) and serve with your choice of carb and some green veg (broccoli is good here).

Next week, back to experimenting.

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