Smoky Chorizo Meatball Bake

    THIS DISH TAKES A SIMPLE WEEKNIGHT RECIPE AND ELEVATES IT TO SMOKY NEW HEIGHTS WITH A COUPLE OF EXTRA INGREDIENTS.

    CLASSIC BEEF MEATBALLS ARE SUPERCHARGED WITH THE ADDITION OF CHORIZO SAUSAGE, AND A CLASSIC TOMATO SAUCE IS GIVEN ADDED DEPTH WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA AND WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. 

    Ingredients:

    Meatballs

    • 500g beef mince
    • 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
    • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
    • ½ cup panko crumbs
    • 2 chorizo sausages, finely diced
    • 1 egg
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    Sauce

    • 2 x 400g cans tomatoes
      (we recommend 1 x chopped, 1 x cherry tomatoes) 
    • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 2 tsp garlic
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
    • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
    • Salt and pepper

    Toppings

    • 2/3 cup mozzarella
    • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
    • Fresh basil and parsley

    Smoky chorizo meatball bake

    Sauce prep:

    1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a large ovenproof baking dish and set aside.  

    Meatball prep:

    1. Add all meatball ingredients (apart from olive oil) in to a bowl and squish together until well mixed, then shape in to 12-16 meatballs (roughly golf ball sized).

    Option 1 - Kitchen Meatballs:

    1. Add olive oil to a large frying pan, place on hob and heat to a low/medium heat.
    2. Add meatballs to pan and cook, turning gently and frequently, until evenly browned. Set aside. 

    Option 2 - Smoked Meatballs:

    1. Preheat smoker/grill to 250°F  (120°C)
    2. Add smoking wood chunks such as mesquite or hickory
    3. Place meatballs on top rack and cook through to 162°F (72°C)

    Assembly and final cook:

    1. Preheat oven to 160°C fan bake.
    2. Gently nestle meatballs in to the sauce in the baking dish, then place in oven for 30 minutes, turning the meatballs over after 15 minutes.
    3. After the 30 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with mozzarella and panko crumbs.
    4. Increase heat to 180°C and cook 10-15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
    5. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes, before sprinkling with basil and parsley, then serve over pasta or rice, or with potato and steamed greens.

    Notes:

    • You can use any type of tinned tomato, but we find the combination of one tin of chopped tomatoes, and one tin of cherry tomatoes results in the best chunky sauce. The cherry tomatoes stay whole and add a nice texture. 
    • Any italian seasoning will do, but for this dish we used 'Italian Stallion' from Pepper and Me. If you don't have italian seasoning on hand, try a mixture of dried basil, rosemary or thyme.
    • We used the type of firm smoked chorizo you get from the deli, but an alternative option would be to squeeze two fresh chorizo sausages out of their skin, in to the meatball mix.

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