iPlayer Radio What's New?

Cook The Perfect... Meatballs with Maria Elia

Maria Elia showed Jenni how to cook the perfect Meatballs with a recipe from her book Full of Flavour: Create... how to think like a chef.

Cosy Lamb Meatballs

A childhood favourite - lamb meatballs combined with a hint of spice, gently cooked with Dino's Greek peas, tomatoes and unconventional mashed potatoes makes this a super cosy sofa supper.



Subscribe to our podcast to be kept up to date with all cookery items.

Tips and techniques

  1. Roll the mince to form meatballs just a bit smaller than a golf ball.
  2. If your meatballs are crumbling you can add a little bit of egg or bread soaked in milk to help bind them together.
  3. Maria likes to serve with mashed potatoes for a cosy winter sofa supper.
  4. In summer you can sprinkle them with crumbled feta and serve with flatbread.
  5. You can make with all types of mince - lamb, pork, beef, turkey or chicken, or make a fish version or vegetarian with chickpeas.
  6. For an Asian twist, swap the spices for ground ginger, cumin, coriander, a pinch of chilli flakes, turmeric and finish with chopped coriander and lemongrass.

Ingredients - for the meatballs

  • 500g lamb mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • flour, for dusting
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Recipe serves 4

Ingredients - for the pea and tomato sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 x 400g can plum tomatoes, crushed
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 100g frozen petit pois
  • 1 tbsp dried dill
  • sea salt
  • ½ bunch mint, finely chopped

Preparation method

For the meatballs

To make the meatballs, simply mix all the ingredients except the flour and oil together and form into balls. Dust the balls in flour.

Heat half the oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Cook until the meatballs are medium-rare in the centre (about 3 minutes, depending on the size).

Then set aside and repeat with the remaining oil and meatballs.

For the sauce

For the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic until softened.

Add the tomato purée and cinnamon and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the tomatoes and sugar and crumble in the stock cube. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the peas and dill along with 200ml water and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat. Add the meatballs and cook for a further 15 minutes, adding a little boiling water if the sauce is a little thick.

Season with sea salt, stir in the mint and serve with mashed potatoes.

Recipe variations

  • Serve with flatbread and sprinkle with crumbled feta.
  • For an Asian twist, swap the meatball spices for ground ginger, cumin, coriander, a pinch of chilli flakes and turmeric. Omit the cinnamon and the dried dill from the sauce and add some freshly chopped ginger, then finish with chopped coriander and lemongrass.

Browse previous recipes

Seeking to create perfect pumpkin soup, cracking curry or unbeatable bread and butter pudding?

Browse our selection of Cook The Perfect... recipes

More Food on the BBC

Cook The Perfect... Cook The Perfect...

Browse our selection of recipes from top chefs, cooks and food writers who have joined us on Woman's Hour.

Cook The Perfect... Podcast Cook The Perfect... Podcast

Download or subscribe to the Cook The Perfect... podcast.

Explore BBC Food Explore BBC Food

Browse over 13,000 recipes on the BBC Food website.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.