Polpette, meatballs, or ….

Once again, I reached into the gastronomic lucky dip that is our freezer, that great storage zone for all things local and perishable. The day before yesterday I fished out a bag of locally produced beef mince. I used it to make polpette. This is probably not worth making with cheap mince, but they were great with what we had. I used the mixture to make polpette (small meat balls) the first night, and then formed the rest of the mixture into patties and had them as burgers in buns. The following recipe will serve six. I got it from ‘Italian Food’ by Elizabeth David.


  • 450g good quality organic local mince
  • 2 slices white bread
  • milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • a little lemon rind
  • plain flour
  • olive oil


  • Cut the crusts off the bread, and soak for fifteen minutes in milk
  • Squeeze the excess milk from the bread, which should be really mushy.
  • Add the garlic, parsley, tiny strips of a little bit of lemon peel, seasoning and spices and blend in a food processer. It is possible to do this by hand as well.
  • Add the bread mixture to the mince, and beat in the egg, until everything is well mixed
  • Next, flour a board and your hands. Form little slightly flat meat balls from the mixture, each just over an inch across, and coat with flour. Make a little dent in the top of each meat ball.Fry in hot oil. I think you can deep-fry these, but I just fried them in a pan. When they are done drain them on paper before serving.

I served these with pasta and tomato sauce. The book suggests serving them with a green salad. The next night, as I said, I made small burgers out of the mixture, possibly a culinary crime, but it was very tasty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *