1.2 kg good-quality minced meat (beef, buffalo or a mixture)
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
a pinch of cumin seeds , bashed up in a pestle and mortar
1 teaspoon coriander seeds , bashed up in a pestle and mortar
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
2 large free-range eggs
freshly ground black pepper
100 g freshly grated Cheddar cheese
For the chilli sauce:
1 large red onion , peeled and finely diced
2 red or yellow peppers , deseeded and roughly chopped
10 cloves of garlic , peeled and finely sliced
1-2 fresh red chillies , deseeded and finely chopped, to taste
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
6 heaped tablespoons tomato ketchup
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons molasses or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
400 ml hot coffee
3 plum tomatoes , quartered
a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
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Rocky Mountain oysters, which are deep-fried calves’ balls, are a Wild West delicacy. Although fairly tasty, I wasn’t sure it would be the most popular recipe to include in this book, so I made up my own cowboy meatball dish instead. These monster meatballs are so delicious: they’re stuffed with cheese and smothered in a rich chilli sauce. I hereby dedicate these balls to all the bulls in the Wild West losing theirs!
Preheat your oven to full whack. Put a large pan on a medium heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Add the 2 diced onions and fry for 10 minutes or until softened, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Put your minced meat into a bowl with the mustard, oregano, cumin, coriander, breadcrumbs, eggs, a good pinch of salt and pepper and the cooled onions. Use clean hands to really scrunch it all together well, then divide the mixture into 8 rounds.
Pick each round up, one at a time, and roll into a cricket-sized ball. Stick your thumb deep into the ball to make a pocket, then stuff in a good pinch of grated cheese. Cup, pack and pat the meat around the cheese, using your hands to mould it back into a ball. You’ll soon get the hang of it. Place the balls in a large oiled casserole dish or roasting tray, drizzle over a good lug of olive oil, then bang into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and sizzling.
Meanwhile, crack on with your chilli sauce. Use kitchen paper to wipe out the pan you cooked your onions in, and put it back on a medium heat with a few lugs of olive oil. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, fresh chillies and paprika and fry gently for about 15 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar, molasses or sugar, mustard, coffee and tomatoes, and bring everything to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. It should be thick and delicious, but if you’d like it a bit thicker just turn the heat up and cook for a few more minutes.
Remove the cooked meatballs from the oven when they’re ready and spoon away as much of the fat from the pan as you can. Pour your chilli sauce over the top, and return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes. Finely chop your parsley, sprinkle over, and serve with a spoonful of rice or mash and a lemony green salad. The cowboys I met could easily nail two of these in one sitting, but if you aren’t going to be roping cattle all day I’d say one is probably plenty!