Here comes the sun

Peter Walters, Keele University’s Executive Chef, gears up for the summer sun with a Mediterranean-style serving

“When I was about 10 years old, I gave my teacher an April Fool’s sandwich, which had a dead goldfish in it.”  – Alan Alda

Well that beats a fish finger sandwich. I’ve steered away from fish this month and gone with venison. You can utilise the tougher cuts by turning them into mince. For the sauce, try a little Mediterranean influence with tomatoes and basil. That reminds me, better get ready to book that summer holiday… I’d better check my passport!

Cheese-filled Venison Meatballs

For 4 persons

  • 500g minced venison  
  • 90g breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 5g oregano
  • 3g salt
  • 3g red chilli flakes
  • 2g black pepper
  • 250g goat’s cheese (smooth)

For the sauce

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 700g chopped tomatoes
  • 30g oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil

1.) Firstly make a simple tomato sauce. Add a splash of olive oil to a saucepan, next add the garlic and sauté, mix in the tomatoes and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, then taste. Add basil at the end as a garnish. Simmer while you work on the meatballs.

2.) Into a large bowl add the venison, 45g breadcrumbs and remaining ingredients except the goat’s cheese and thoroughly mix. Roll the goat’s cheese into small balls about 2cm in size.  

3.) Next take a small amount of the meatball mixture, about the size of an apricot, and flatten it into the palm of your hand. Place a ball of goat’s cheese into the centre so that the meat can be brought around to completely cover the cheese.

4.) Continue until all the meat mixture has been used up. Pour remaining breadcrumbs into a small dish. Roll each meatball around in the breadcrumb mixture to cover.

5.) Heat a frying pan to a medium high heat. Add meatballs, a few at a time and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate to reserve until all the meatballs have been browned. 

6.) Add the meatballs to the sauce and cover with the sauce. Water or vegetable stock can be added to produce extra volume. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over pasta of your choice with some fresh basil.

7.) To serve, slice each steak with a sharp knife into 1cm slices, arrange on warmed plates with the sweet potatoes and broccoli, and pour over the berry sauce.

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