Beef stroganoff spaghetti meatballs – it sounds utterly nuts, but bear with me. If any one idiom describes what happens in my kitchen, it would be necessity is the mother of invention. I loathe throwing anything away. Even if there is only one tablespoon of cream left, it needs to be used. I guess the lessons from my gran – who had to live through wartime rations – stuck. What that woman could do with one egg, half a vienna and a cup of flour was truly a marvel.
And so it was with this recipe. I had half a tub of sour cream in my fridge and a punnet of sad-looking mushrooms definitely on their last legs. Say mushrooms and sour cream and beef stroganoff immediately comes to mind. But I didn’t have any beef steak or cubes. What I did have (and always do in my freezer) is mince. There was no reason it wouldn’t work I thought, so I went there. You could serve this on rice of course, but I also happened to have half a packet of pasta lurking around. And that is how it happened – beef stroganoff spaghetti meatballs. Gran would have been chuffed I’m sure.
All you need is…
For the beef meatballs
500g beef mince
¾ tsp salt
⅛ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
For the stroganoff mushroom sauce
1 onion, very finely diced
250g mushrooms (I used portabellini, but ordinary button mushrooms will do)
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ cups water
2 x 25g Woolworths beef liquid stock concentrate (or any other quality liquid stock essence like Nomu)
¼ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt (this amount is calibrated for using the Woolies beef concentrate, taste before you add salt if you use something else and adjust accordingly)
6 heaped tbs sour cream
olive oil for frying
cooked pasta for serving
Combine the meatball ingredients, mix thoroughly and scoop tablespoon measures of the mixture to roll into bite-sized meatballs. Heat a thick-bottomed pan, add a splash of olive oil or any other cooking oil and fry off the meatballs until nicely caramelised. (You’ll need to do this in batches so you don’t lower the pan’s temperature too much and end up with grey and nasty meatballs.) Remove and set aside.
Add the diced onion to the same pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat and add the mushrooms along with another small splash of oil if absolutely necessary. Fry for a few minutes then add the garlic and fry it for a further minute. Add the water and beef stock extract, put the lid on, turn the heat down low and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, add the black pepper and taste for salt. Add the meatballs back to the pan to heat through (along with any resting juices). Serve right away with a generous scattering of parsley or chives if that takes your fancy.