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Thursday 9 July 2020

Rick Stein's : Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce (Boles de picolat)

This recipe suggestion is from Rick Stein, one of my favourite TV chefs.
I always enjoy watching his many and varied cookery series. Back in the Autumn of 2019 the BBC were showing 'Secret France', where Rick gets off the beaten track and takes to the backroads of France – a less discovered France that still cherishes the best of its past and is creating modern exciting dishes that are still unmistakably French. I did enjoy watching it and now share one of the recipes featured ...

Rick says … 'this recipe came from a stall in Prades market where they were cooking boles meatballs in a huge paella pan. They were fabulous – beef and pork meatballs flavoured with cinnamon and piment d’Espelette in an exquisite tomato sauce with green olives, haricot beans and bacon. I thought there might be too much meat in the dish, but not at all.'

Serves 4 - 6
For the meatballs
400g/14oz beef mince
400g/14oz pork mince
1 free-range egg, beaten
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
small handful fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp piment d’Espelette or pimentón
2–3 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for rolling
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the spicy tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100g/3½oz unsmoked bacon lardons or cubes of cooked ham
1 tsp piment d’Espelette or pimentón
½ tsp ground cinnamon
6 tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
150g/5½oz pitted green olives, drained
400g tin haricot beans, drained and rinsed

salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve 
freshly cooked rice, (optional)
lower carb cauliflower rice, (optional)
lower carb mashed swede/rutabaga (optional)

1. To make the meatballs, mix the beef, pork, egg, garlic, parsley, cinnamon, piment d’Espelette and 2 tablespoons of flour in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Using your hands, shape the mixture into golf ball-sized spheres, adding another tablespoon of flour if the mixture feels too wet to form into balls. Roll the balls in flour to lightly cover. Heat the oil in a large, preferably shallow, flameproof casserole dish and brown the meatballs all over. Remove from the dish and set aside.
2. For the sauce, heat the oil in the same casserole dish and fry the onion and lardons until the onions are softened. Add the piment d’Espelette and cinnamon and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes, tomato purée and 250ml/9fl oz water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the olives, beans and meatballs, together with any juices they have released.

3. Cover the dish and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Check a couple of times during cooking and add a little more water if the sauce looks too thick.

Serve as a tapas dish or as a main dish with rice, cauliflower rice, mashed swede. 
From original idea here

Piment d Espelette are hot, dried red pepper from the Basque region of France. Add the pepper to marinades, dry rubs and for seasoning anything to be roasted. Use it as you would hot paprika atop potato salad or devilled eggs. Available in specialty stores and online.
Substitute for Piment d Espelette
Hot paprika (unsmoked)
OR Cayenne

OR Aleppo pepper
Information above taken from here

Related Posts - more recipes from Rick Stein:
Lamb Casserole with Aubergine / Eggplant here
Simple Cod Gratin with Béarnaise Sauce Topping here

Greek Style Moussaka here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe suggestions and articles within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan


Sue said...

I love meatballs and I love beans, so this is definitely a winner! Take care, Sue xx

Valerie-Jael said...

This sounds wonderful! Valerie

Elephant's Child said...

The simple rural dishes so often have more flavour don't they?

Tom said...

...that looks great!

DUTA said...

I like them made of any meat (except pork). I'll make them at home (meat mixed with eggs and garlic) on a low flame, or buy them out (Ikea meat balls i.e.).
The dish in the picture looks fabulous!

R's Rue said...


Anne (cornucopia) said...

I like spicy, so this sounds perfect.

Snowbird said...

This looks lovely and could easily be veganized. I must try

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Sounds very tasty, but also a lot of work. We shall try it perhaps with rice. Although I guess it's also good with pasta.

God bless.

Rose said...

This sounds delicious...I might make some adjustments, but yummy sounding.

Lorrie said...

Sounds like a delicious dish. I love meatballs.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

It's always nice to try something different and new! I imagine it is very delicious with the right seasonings from that area, but fun to improvise too. Thank you for sharing!

DIMI said...

Hello Jan!
I like Rick Stein’s recipes! I love Mediterranean cuisine!
Great recipe,i serve my meatballs with spaghetti and grated cheese on top!
Have a lovely weekend! Take care!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'll skip the meatballs, but would gladly take any of those breads and the grapes.

aussie aNNie said...

I always seem to visit your blog when it's our dinner time, and while it's cooking I drool over the recipes...yum.xx
Have a lovely weekend. ♥

eileeninmd said...


These all sounds like delicious meals. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend!

stardust said...

I love meatballs, tomatoes, and beans. Nice recipe of the combination of the three.

JFM said...

Another👍 from hubby!
Thank you Jan!!!

Ygraine said...

I consider meatballs my "holiday treat", because I always eat them at least once when I'm away on my holidays!😉
I usually buy the ready made kind, so this recipe is far superior I'm sure, both in taste and in nutrition...and I'm a fan of beans too!
Thank you so much for sharing😊😊

Have a lovely weekend...and stay safe.

Hugs xxx

Iris Flavia said...

Thank you. And Jamie Oliver. You two made me find joy - and confidence -in cooking.
I even used that butter-thing instead of oil for Hubby and didn´t puke of the smell ;-)

sandy said...

that looks pretty darn good!

baili said...

Oh that reminded me meatball my mom used to make on special occasions :)

so tasty indeed
thank you so much ,i loved it !

mamasmercantile said...

A recipe that I have used many times.

My name is Erika. said...

I don’t think we get Rick Stein here in the states. These meatballs look delicious. Happy weekend!

Conniecrafter said...

As my hubby would say can there ever be too much meat :)