Venison Meatballs with Molten Paté Centres

venison, meatballs

There are already two recipes for meatballs on Pebble Soup. One called Tzirani Gololig which is an Armenian recipe with an apricot sauce, and a family meatballs recipe straight from Morroco. Both are made with lamb. The one, I'd like to share today was provided by Wild and Game a not-for-profit company on a mission to boost game consumption.

What a week to choose to talk about game-meat, just as grouse shooting for sport is making the headlines. I'm not going to re-open the controversy with this post, primarily because I'm fairly ambivalent about shooting wild animals. I am among those who dislike the idea but, coming from a family of farm-hands whose hobby was hunting, I can't bring myself to condemn the activity irrevocably.

Having said this, introducing diversity in a meat-based diet seems to be a good idea. All of which leads me to venison. It contains about half the calories of beef and is high in protein. Funny enough, the term comes from the Latin verb venari meaning "to hunt".

And here is the recipe courtesy of Wild and Game

Meatballs with molten Wild and Game pate centres
 It makes a great starter or tapas dish and works beautifully as a sauce with pasta.
Makes 16-18 meatballs (feeds 4-6)


For the meatballs

3 slices (about 120g) white bread
500g pork mince and 500g beef mince – or for a richer version use venison for a leaner version use turkey or chicken
2 tsp mixed Italian herbs
1 tsp garlic granules
3 medium eggs
Salt and pepper – a couple of pinches of each
1 x 120 g tub of Wild and Game Pheasant, apple and Calvados pate, the centre can be substituted too with chicken liver paté
A generous glug of olive oil
For the tomato sauce (double this if you like a lot of sauce, or if you are serving with pasta)

1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 pinch chilli powder
2 pinches ground cumin
1 pinch ground coriander
2 tins tomato
A glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper

First, make the meatballs:

  1. Pre-heat the over to 200 degrees centigrade/gas mark 6.
  2. Tear the bread into pieces and place it in a food processor and whizz until you have fairly fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except for the oil, whizzing between additions, until they are all finely chopped and fully mixed.
  4. Using a dessert spoon, measure out a spoonful of the mixture, make an indentation in it with your thumb, and pop in about a third of a teaspoon of pate. Take another spoonful of the mix, place this on top, and roll in your hands until you have a ball. Place on a plate and repeat until all the mixture is used up.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan, and cook the meatballs, turning regularly, until well browned. As each one if browned, remove it and place it on a greased baking tray.
  6. Place all the browned meatballs in the oven for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Serve with the sauce.

To make the sauce:

  1. Chop the onion and crush the garlic.
  2. Fry in the olive oil until soft.
  3. Add the spices and cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes.
  5. Season to taste.



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