Herby Meatballs in a Spicy Paprika Sauce by MasterChef's James Bacon

by MasterChef's James Bacon @jamesbaconcooks

These Meatballs pack so much herby flavour, teamed with the most rich and spicy tomato and paprika sauce, its a must for when friends are (or that someone special) over to blow them away!

Ingredients for the meatballs  

  • 800g of mince - I used 400g beef + 400g pork mince mixed, however, 800g of beef will work well for this recipe
  • 1 small banana shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 50g breadcrumbs

Ingredients for the Sauce

  • 3 medium banana shallots, sliced long way
  • 4 gloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced length ways (white bits and seeds removed)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (pith and seeds removed)
  • 2 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs tomato purée
  • 680g bottle passata
  • 400ml beef stock
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the herby meatballs and mix well. For best results, use your hands - make sure they’re clean.
  2. Heat a frying pan and take a small amount of the mixture, roll in to a ball and form in to a patty. Fry, and check/adjust the seasoning to taste, season your mix until you are happy with your “test burger”.
  3. Once happy with the seasoning, divide the remaining mixture into meatballs by combining two tablespoons of the meat mixture (shaped into patty) with wet hands and and shallow fry until golden brown in a large frying pan. Set these aside as you may need to cook in two or three batches to not over crowd the pan.
  4. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large pan and add the shallots, cook on low until soft - about 5 - 7 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and the peppers. Cook for a further 3 mins. At this point we need to add the Paprika.
  6. Next, add the tomato puree and cook for around two minutes. Add the tomato, passata and beef stock to the pan. Return the meatballs to the cooking sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and allow reduce for 10 minutes or until you have a great sauce consistency.
  7. Serve with rice or pasta, or for a decadent meal, super creamy, mashed potato. Always remember to add a splash of colour and flavour with some roughly chopped parsley and chilli flakes from your Saunderton Spice shaker.

TIP: Check the seasoning at every stage through the cooking process to ensure a great flavour!

Try the Cole & Mason Saunderton Shaker for yourself here

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