The Cottage Smallholder

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The ultimate soft pork meatballs recipe

tomato trussYears ago when so called witches were awaiting trial, they were fed mouldy bread and water. Mouldy bread, in excess, causes hallucinations. And in the case of the witches probably sealed their fate.

So I tend to avoid mouldy bread.

We have been working on the ultimate pork meatball recipe. We now have a recipe for the softest melt in the mouth meatballs with the addition of a beaten egg.

I decided to give Magimix her first run chez Cottage Smallholder. I oohed and aahed so much that Danny rushed into the kitchen to check what was going on. Our sauce was packed with extra vegetables as he had to have a go too. Magimix was in slicing mode and this seemed to release loads more flavour than when I heroically chop the Romano peppers and tomatoes. The cheats sauce, using the Waitrose tomato and herb pasta sauce as a base, was absolutely delicious.

Puffed up with pride I called D to the table. After a minute he put his fork down.
“I am sorry but I can’t eat these meatballs.”
“Why on earth not?”
“They have a mouldy taste.”
The ball I was eating was fine, the next one was from a Pharaoh’s tomb.

We eventually realised that the loaf that I had chosen for the breadcrumbs, was mouldy in the gentlest way. Not the usual grey mould patches. This was a small white mould, almost like a dusting of flour that had infiltrated the loaf.

So we ate the sauce on a bed of couscous and chopped fresh herbs. The Min PIns guzzled the meat balls.

The ultimate soft pork meatballs recipe – updated Februaury 2023


For the meatballs:

  • 500g of minced pork
  • 50g of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp of decent dried mixed herbs or 1 tbsp of fresh herbs (chopped fine)
  • 4 tbsp of milk
  • 1 tbsp of dry white wine
  • 1 medium egg (beaten)

For the sauce:

  • Basic homemade Marinara Sauce the link to my favourite recipe is at the bottom of this post
  • 3 Romano peppers (sliced)
  • 8 – 12 cherry tomatoes (sliced)
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
  • 0.5 tsp of smoked sweet red pepper powder (or more to taste)
  • Splosh of dry white wine (about 150ml)
  • I tsp of Miso paste


  1. Pour the sauce into a large casserole or marmite. Toss in the peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms and wine and allow to simmer, lid on, as you prepare your meatballs.
  2. Add the herbs to the breadcrumbs and mix well then add the milk and I tbsp of white wine. Allow these to soak in before mixing the breadcrumbs through the minced pork. Then mix the beaten egg into the meatball mixture. Form 14-16 small balls the size of a large walnut.
  3. Add the Miso paste to the sauce.
  4. Gently place these into the saucepan and simmer (lid on) for 10 minutes. Then turn the balls very gently to cook the other side and simmer for ten minutes (lid on). Simmer for a further ten minutes.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    Your twist on this dish sounds delicious – can’t wait to try it!

  2. inquisitive_1ady

    I had a headless chicken day yesterday -running round and not achieving anything – but did remember to get the pork mince out the freezer to do meatballs (Nigel Slater method with lemon and coriander)… oops no lemons and only parsley hmm. I remembered seeing a link to this recipe so had most things but but no tomato sauce, improvised with lots of caramelised onions and apple juice.

    They really are melt in the mouth meatballs, this recipe is going to become one of our staples.

    Thank you.

  3. Danny Carey

    Chris – that is a good tip. Thank you.
    We need more masters, or their disciples, on this site. 🙂
    Just to clarify – do you suggest that a red wine additive for a sauce should first be reduced in its own separate saucepan (i.e. with nothing else added)?
    On an aside, but relevant to this meatballs recipe, is Suky’s solution in the forum for how to keep meatballs in a ball shape during storage

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Chris

    Thanks for leaving this comment. Can’t wait to try it when I next use wine in a recipe!

  5. I am (very)(very) ‘old school’ and when I learned at the feet of a Master he taught me to never (ever) pour wine straight from the bottle (or via tbspn) directly into sauces…he made me pour wine into a saucepan over a low heat & render it down so the alcohol evaporates leaving a jelly like substance that has all of the gorgeous wine flavour in a much stronger and tastier form…..I am now old enough to gently remonstrate with TV ‘chefs’ who gluggle the wine into the sauce/gravy straight from the bottle. Red wine is NOT tasty cooked….but the essence of it a la the above IS. Agree or disagree?

  6. pete thomas

    definatly going to try these,mmmmm

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda,

    They were vile…

    Hi Pat,

    I am always making gaffs in the kitchen. You just don’t hear about them!

  8. Ohhhhhhhhh Fiona!!!!! I thought I was the only one that had disasters like that in the kitchen. Glad you could at least save the sauce.

  9. Yum! Mouldy meatballs – my favourite. I mean the Min Pins favourite…

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