Veal mince is available in most of the supermarkets now but if you have a problem finding it you can use pork mince. The same with wild mushrooms-use cultivated ones if necessary and add about 25g dried porcini mushrooms (having soaked them in hot water for about 1 hour) to boost the flavour.
- For the meatballs
- 400g veal mince
- 100g prosciutto ham, minced or very finely chopped
- 60g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- For the sauce
- 25g butter
- 2 echalion (or banana) shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 200g wild mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
- 100ml dry vermouth e.g Noilly Prat
- 100ml chicken stock
- 300ml double cream
- Leaves from 8 sprigs thyme
- To finish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs. Season with ground black pepper (you shouldn’t need any salt) and shape into 16 even-sized balls. Place on a tray, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about 1 hour or longer if you want to make these well in advance.
- For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and gently sauté the shallots with a pinch of salt for 8-10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Turn the heat up and add the mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes then pour in the vermouth. Boil until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Turn the heat down and add the chicken stock, double cream and thyme leaves. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside. You can make the sauce in advance.
- To finish the dish, heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs for 10 minutes, turning them regularly to make sure they are evenly browned. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and pour over the mushroom sauce. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. Serve with pasta and a simple green salad.