Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce

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I have been cooking quite a bit lately from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen and am loving everything I have tried so far. This is a bit of a revelation for me considering that I am quite familiar with French food, having grown up eating this cuisine as a child and now married to a French husband. Sure, I have always enjoyed eating French food but, for so long, everything I had eaten had been prepared in faithful reproduction of the classic, such that a coq au vin in one bistro was very likely to taste the same at another. As much as I love French food, my feeling was that it was a bit monotonous at times.

Rachel Khoo brings a lovely, fresh twist to French cooking which has struck a note with me. Quite often, the Vietnamese like to take French classics and give them a fragrant tweak, often involving punchy spices like star anise and gutsy herbs like lemongrass and coriander, but Rachel Khoo’s influence comes from her British upbringing and her Austrian-Malay-Chinese background, a combination which is sure to turn heads in the kitchen.

Her recipe for Meatballs in Spicy Sauce with Alsatian Pasta caught my eye because, after having made a huge serving of pot-au-feu, I had some leftover broth which I didn’t want to go to waste. Due to our teeny tiny freezer, I don’t often make stock to freeze for later use, and the broth from the pot-au-feu was essentially a very flavourful beef stock that would have been a shame to throw away.

The sauce for this recipe uses the bold flavours of red wine, its aroma upon cooking very reminiscent of a coq au vin. There are quite a few vegetables and herbs added to the sauce to add body and flavour, but you will notice from the photos that none of the vegetables actually make it to the plate; they are merely used to infuse flavour and then discarded once their job is done. Perhaps a bit of a waste but quite a few French sauces are made using this technique. You could certainly leave the vegetables in the sauce (but remove the herbs) for a more textured and filling dish.

Rachel Khoo calls the sauce “spicy” but I think it is more piquant than anything else, owing to the addition of chopped cornichons and capers at the end which add a nice sour and salty note.

The red wine sauce and meatballs are served over a bed of pasta which you wouldn’t normally associate with French food, but the Alsace region is renowned for its egg pasta. The recipe calls for Alsatian pasta but I couldn’t find any in the supermarkets or food halls, despite our close proximity to the region. So I used a curly pasta instead but I think you could choose any pasta to your liking.

Despite the simplicity of the final dish, the recipe does involve quite a few pots and pans and activity in the kitchen, but the end result was definitely worth it. It was nice to have pasta with something other than a tomato sauce, and the red wine sauce enriched with pot-au-feu broth gave the dish a distinct French touch. Another successful recipe from Rachel Khoo.

20 Comments

  1. Caroline 15 April 2012

    Didn’t realise you bought the book Thanh, but had a feeling it would resonate with you. This looks beautiful and sumptuous to eat πŸ™‚ Meatballs in any fashion is always a pleaser but its nice to have things changed up.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 April 2012

      Carrie, I’ve already posted 3 recipes from this book! πŸ˜‰ I love meatballs as well and it was definitely nice to try them in a different way with this red wine sauce. It was also nice to put my large jar of cornichons to use! We go through phases where we would consume a whole jar within a few days and then there are periods where it’s left neglected for a few months. Actually, one thing I’ve enjoyed about the Little Paris Kitchen is using ingredients I don’t use often – it makes cooking a little bit more fun πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Jo Blogs Jo Bakes 16 April 2012

    Meatballs rock – I have Ikea to thank for the start of my addiction! I must say this looks so deeply rich and packed full of bags of flavour but Thanh, please tell me you plonked another scoop of meatballs on top of your portion after you photographed it?! Four meatballs? My hubs would weep if I only gave him four (me too to be fair lol!). Oh hang on – *that’s* why me and hubs are struggling with our healthy eating & lifestyle regime whilst you’re teeny tiny πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 April 2012

      LOL!! Actually, this photo was taken of the leftovers the next day … and there were only four meatballs left! Goes to show how much hubby and I ate the night before … *blush*

      I also love Ikea meatballs!! When I was a child, my family and I actually used to go to their restaurant for dinner and I would always order the meatballs. I don’t know about the UK, but the Ikea restaurants in Switzerland are pretty nice, though my hubby raised an eyebrow when I told him about this fond past-time in my family, LOL!! These days, I make them at home or wait to visit our Swedish sister-in-law for a treat πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Reem | Simply Reem 16 April 2012

    Thanh now you have inspired me to get this book…
    These meatballs looks delicious… I love the recipe!!!
    It is always a wow to find new exciting recipe for meatballs…

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 16 April 2012

      Oh I’m glad I’ve inspired you to add another cookbook to your collection! πŸ˜‰ This is a sort of posh recipe for meatballs and pasta, but really delicious. I hope you will enjoy it!

      Reply
  4. Elodie Amora 16 April 2012

    I love red wine sauces! Thanks for the recipes! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 18 April 2012

      You’re welcome, Elodie πŸ™‚ I hope you will have a chance to try this recipe – it’s well worth it.

      Reply
  5. Liz Headon 17 April 2012

    I’m another meatball fan, and this recipe would certainly get a thumbs up from me !

    Reply
  6. Jennifer (Delicieux) 17 April 2012

    While I’m not a meat eater my fiance is, and this is exactly the sort of thing he would love, rich and packed with flavour. That red wine sauce looks especially good, and so thick and rich. Another gorgeous dish Thanh.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 18 April 2012

      Thanks, Jennifer! I think you could certainly make a vegetarian version of this red wine sauce by using vege or porcini stock instead of beef stock. I’m sure you are quite used to looking at meat dishes and thinking of how you can adapt it for yourself!

      Reply
  7. The Food Sage 17 April 2012

    Meatballs and i get along – very well! These look gorgeous. But i would struggle to pass up Nino Zoccali’s (from Pendolino restaurant in Sydney) meatballs – http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/cuisine/meat/recipe/italian-meatballs-with-tagliatelle-20111018-1lwcy.html. The combination of veal mince, ricotta and parmesan and soft herbs is tremendous. These little babies melt in your mouth.

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 18 April 2012

      Ooh thanks for sharing this recipe! The recipe looks really good – I love adding a bit of parmesan to the mince mixture for a savoury kick. I might give this recipe a go the next time my tastebuds call for meatballs, especially if they come with your recommendation πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. […] Rachel Khoo calls the sauce β€œspicy” but I think it is more piquant than anything else, owing to the addition of chopped cornichons and capers at the end which add a nice sour and salty note. The sauce for this recipe uses the bold flavours of red wine, its aroma upon cooking very reminiscent of a coq au vin . There are quite a few vegetables and herbs added to the sauce to add body and flavour, but you will notice from the photos that none of the vegetables actually make it to the plate; they are merely used to infuse flavour and then discarded once their job is done. Perhaps a bit of a waste but quite a few French sauces are made using this technique. Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce β€” eat, little bird […]

    Reply
  9. […] has frequently been in the form of vegetable soups. After several days of eating rich food like Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce or Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings, a simple and soothing bowl of soup is a great way to […]

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  10. Lindi 2 July 2012

    Hi, Rachel Khoo needs to pay you a commission I feel – I bought her book on your recommendation. Yum!!!!!!

    Keep up the brilliant work & happy 1st anniversary,
    Lindi

    Reply
    • eat, little bird 10 July 2012

      Oh I’m happy to hear that my reviews inspried you to buy Rachel Khoo’s book πŸ™‚ There are some really wonderful recipes in there. I have tried quite a few more recipes from the book but haven’t had time to post them on my blog yet … perhaps I’ll have to do one big blog post on the Little Paris Kitchen!

      Reply
  11. […] Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce from Eat Little Bird.Β  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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  12. […] FRANCE: Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce […]

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