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Meatballs Efo Riro (Meatballs in Stewed Amaranth Greens)

So now I have quite a lot of meatballs in my freezer, after having made some previously (check post here). I particularly made them so that my daughter can readily have some whenever she wants....cause she loves meatballs. The idea of eating meat off the bone does not wash with her, and she wants little effort possible to chew her meat...!

Meatballs are great with pasta, and also with rice. And as a new discovery for me, they are excellent in traditional Nigerian soups.

So my daughter was the one who suggested that I should add some meatballs to my traditional vegetable soup, so I did, and the result is fantastic. The meat balls cooked so quickly and they soaked up so much flavour from the soup base. It is delicious, very simple to make, with very little effort.

What you need
Home made meat balls (check recipe here)
Base sauce to make the soup
Some palm oil (or other vegetable oil of choice)
Amaranth greens (blanched and shredded)
Locust beans
Whole smoked prawns (remove the head, and wash thoroughly in hot water)
Vegetable oil
Salt to taste

What to do
Heat some vegetable oil in a sauce pan and pan fry the meatballs until browned slightly.  This process is needed to seal the juices in the meatballs. Stir constantly to avoid burning, Once the balls have evenly browned, remove from the pan and allow to rest,

In the meantime, heat up some palm oil in a saucepan and add a generous amount of pre-made red pepper base sauce (see a recipe here). Add the stock and some locust beans. Allow sauce to sizzle and reduce into a slightly thick consistency. Taste for salt.

Now add the meatballs into the sizzling sauce and stir in. Also add the blanched and shredded amaranth greens. Cover the pan and turn heat down. Allow to simmer until the greens and the meatballs cook through. The amount of greens and meatballs you add will depend on the quantity of sauce you have. Adjust consistency by adding a little hot water, as required. Taste for salt.

Serve hot.

Nigerian Home Made Meatballs

Sincerely, its worth making meatballs at home, for so many reasons. Foremost, making your meatballs gives you all the power to do or add whatever you fancy. You know precisely what has gone into it and you are assured of what you are eating.....quite frankly, you do not want to begin to investigate into what actually makes up commercially produced meatballs.....

Anyway, I was left with no choice but to make some meatballs at home, because I could not readily find any at all, in the local supermarkets,,, and in the one place I found some, I was not keen at all to put it in my mouth. So what's a girl to do. I had to make some.

Making meatballs is one of the simplest things to do, especially if you have the right equipment. The best thing to use is a grinder, but if you do not have access to a grinder, then a good food processor will suffice.

So very easy, all you have to do is purchase some nice cut beef with no fat or tendons. You would also need some seasoning to help enhance tastes and flavours fully in the meat.

First: the texture and juiciness of the home made meatballs make them so special. They ooze so much flavour, its incredible. I think this can be attributed to the fact that the cows from which the beef is sourced is pretty much organic, are grazed on natural vegetation and are allowed to follow their herder in search for this vegetation.

I believe all these factors contribute to the incredibly firm texture of the meat they saying this because Nigerians are known to favor this quality in their beef, as against what is found in the UK.

Second: One important thing I found about ground beef is the fact that it cooks in a very short time, and I feel that has got to have some impact on its overall nutritional benefits.

See below the steps required in making meatballs at home.

1. First purchase some lean beef ensuring you remove all traces of fat, muscles or tendons.

2. Then cut into large chunks that will fit into your meat grinder or food processor

3. Set the grinder/food processor to a low setting and mince the meat until fully grounded.

4. Transfer the minced meat into a large bowl and add salt, seasoning and spice as you prefer. Add one egg (depending on the quantity you have) and mix into the meat. This will help to bind the meatballs and prevent them from falling apart when cooking. Don't worry, the taste of the egg would not interfere with the meat flavours.

5. Take small quantities at a time to roll into balls.

6. This can also be made into patties or burgers.

Nigerian Minced Beef & Mashed Plantain Bake


So, am really excited about this recipe....the tastes and flavours and textures I experienced from this dish, I cannot describe, you just have to find out for yourself....!

First I have to say that the minced beef we get in the UK and the one I made myself (here in Lagos) with the local beef in Nigeria, are like chalk and cheese....miles apart in taste and texture and juiciness...omg!

Already, Nigerians are known to favor beef with a firm texture, which is able to retain and soak up lots of flavours... This is because Nigerian cows are largely organic, fed on natural grass and vegetation, and put through a lot of "exercise" because they are reared by the a Nomadic Nigerian tribe known as the Fulanis. Everywhere they go, they take their cows and allow them to graze on natural vegetation as they move from one place to the other....actually they move in search of vegetation...!

Anyway, I am totally in love with this beef, and when I decided to make some home-made mince out of them, I was so pleasantly surprised by the outcome....its so different (pleasantly I have to add), from what I was used to eating in the UK.

So I was looking for new ways to do a plantain dish, especially ripe plantains which are so much available and tend to deteriorate quickly...I was in search of other exciting ways other than just frying or baking as usual... My first attempt of making this mince and plantain combo was a hit... As I said, you have to try it to fully appreciate this dish.

What you need
Ripe plantains
Lean beef (remove all traces of fat and tendons and wash beef. Then cut into chunks. Using a food processor or meat grinder, mince the beef and set aside.)
Red peppers
Green peppers
Stock powder
Salt to taste
Unsalted butter
Cconut oil
Peeled plum tomatoes or tomato paste

What to do
Cut the plantains in half, unpeeled and boil in salty water until soft. Then peel the plantains add a knob of butter and mash in a bowl using a fork. You may wish to remove the black row of seeds from the plantain before mashing (this is optional). Mash into a smooth consistency, set aside

In a sauce pan, heat some oil and add chopped onions, red and green peppers and stir. Allow to brown slightly, then add the minced beef. Stir all ingredients together to combine. Then add chopped peeled plum tomatoes. Now is the time to add some stock powder and/or salt to taste. Adjust according to your preference. Allow the beef to cook through (the pink colour turns brown to indicate the beef is ready.)

Now place the mashed plantain and the cooked minced beef into an oven dish in alternating layers. Allow to bake for about 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 C. When the top layer begins to brown/crisp, then it is ready.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest (cool) for a further 10 minutes before serving.

Note:The dish tastes even better when allowed to rest in the fridge overnight...!

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