Spicy meatballs: Great Balls of Fire

Dish type: Beef

Serves 4–6

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes

Jez Felwick, author of The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook, said: "This is the first ball I developed, and the first ball that I served to a member of the paying public. That was the moment when things really started to roll, with my cooking truly exposed and the adrenaline pumping. It felt good. This is a ball with plenty of flavour and texture, and I like to load up the chilli to increase the fire. The balls can take a good braise in any sauce, but I serve them in my spiced red onion and tomato version."


100g ricotta cheese
2 free-range eggs
400g pork shoulder, finely minced
200g beef chuck steak, finely minced
100g Japanese panko breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander stems, leaves reserved
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes


1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF), Gas Mark 7 and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.

2. Put the ricotta into a large bowl and fork through to break it up. Add the eggs and whisk together. Add the minced pork and beef, panko crumbs (or breadcrumbs), garlic, coriander stems, salt and chilli flakes, and mix with your hands until well combined.

3. Heat a small frying pan over a high heat. Break off a small amount of the mixture, flatten between your fingers and fry until cooked. Taste to check the seasoning and spice levels and add more salt and chilli flakes if necessary. Form the mixture into about 18 balls each 4–5cm in diameter, packing each one firmly, and place them on the prepared baking tray.

4. Bake in the oven for 15–18 minutes, turning the tray round halfway through – the balls should begin to brown on the top. Keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t get burnt underneath.

5. Meanwhile, heat the sauce in a large pan over a medium heat. When the balls are cooked, add them to the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Serve with soured cream on the side and a few leaves of coriander scattered on top, and a baby spinach and rocket salad.