Around the World with Pork mince



20 g butter
2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
450 ml chicken stock (see Note)
4 sage leaveS
rocket salad and crusty bread, to serve
parmesan, to serve


600 g minced pork
150 g (¾ cup) ricotta
⅔ cup breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
⅔ cup parmesan
2½ tbsp currants
small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
½ tsp each salt and ground black pepper
½ cup plain flour

For the meatballs, combine all the ingredients except the flour in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix to combine well, then form into balls about 2.5 cm in diameter -  the size of a large walnut.

Heat the butter and oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

Lightly dust the meatballs with flour then add to the pan and cook, in 2 batches if necessary, and shaking the pan often, for 5 minutes or until light golden all over.

Carefully pour off any excess oil, if desired.

Add the stock and sage leaves to the pan, then bring the liquid to a simmer.

Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly.

Serve with rocket salad and bread, scattered with extra parmesan.

Cook's notes

For a truly authentic way to braise the meatballs, replace the 450 ml stock with a combination of 300 ml stock and 150 ml milk.

You can use minced beef or a combination of pork and veal if desired.


1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
250 g minced beef
250 g minced pork
20 g grated ginger
1 egg
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour, plus extra for dusting
vegetable, sunflower or corn oil, for shallow frying
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
salt and ground white pepper

For the sweet ginger sauce

30 g grated ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
125 ml dashi stock or 1 tsp instant dashi powder mixed with water
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp  mirin
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp cornflour

Put the chopped spring onions (reserve a handful of the green part for the garnish) in a bowl with the beef and pork mince, grated ginger, egg, sesame oil and pinch of salt and white pepper. Start adding the cornflour, little by little, kneading the mixture well for a few minutes until doughy and elastic.

Scoop portions of the meat mixture with a tsp to make bite-sized balls. Make sure all the meatballs are the same size to ensure consistent cooking times. Dust them lightly in cornflour.

Bake the meatballs with a drizzle of oil in an oven preheated to 180° C for 12–15 minutes.

While the meatballs are cooking, squeeze the juice from the grated ginger into a small bowl along with the other ingredients for the sauce and mix well until there are no lumps.

Heat a large frying pan and add the cooked meatballs. Once the pan becomes very hot, pour in the sauce mixture, shake the pan from side to side to coat the meatballs well and let the sauce thicken, about 1 minute. Transfer to large shallow bowls, sprinkle with the finely chopped spring onion greens and finish with the toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on the top.


1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
300 g pork mince
5 spring onions, finely chopped
2-3 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
5 shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed, finely chopped
2 bunches Asian greens such as choy sum or baby bok choy, cut into 5 cm lengths
500 g thick flour noodles, any type will work
1 carrot, julienned
1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds discarded, julienned
2 spring onions, sliced
coriander sprigs, to serve

In a small bowl, combine the chilli bean, oyster and soy sauces, sugar, salt and 125 ml (½ cup) water, then set aside.

Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the pork, spring onion, ginger and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 3 minutes or until the pork has browned. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. The pork will release some liquid, which will mix with the sauce to make a delicious gravy. Add the Asian greens and continue to cook until the vegetables are wilted.

Meanwhile, heat the noodles according to the packet directions. Drain and divide among four bowls, then spoon the meat sauce over the top, making sure each serve gets some gravy. Place the carrot and cucumber on one side of the sauce, then sprinkle with extra spring onions and serve scattered with coriander sprigs. 


1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small red chillies, finely sliced, plus to serve
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander stems and roots, finely chopped
250 g pork mince
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
100 g green beans, finely sliced into rounds
1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
1 ½ tbsp lime juice, plus extra wedges to serve
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
50 g rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained
iceberg lettuce cups, to serve
cucumber slices to serve

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the garlic, chilli, lemon grass and the coriander stems and roots and cook for 30 seconds. Add the pork and stir fry 1½ – 2 minutes until the pork start starts to change colour. Toss in the carrot, green beans and fish sauce. Stir fry for a further 1–2 minutes until the pork is just cooked. Add the lime juice, and most of coriander leaves and peanuts and toss to combine. Add more fish sauce or lime juice to balance the flavour.

Using scissors roughly snip the rice vermicelli and place a small amount in the base of each lettuce cup. Top with the pork mixture, the remaining coriander and peanuts and a few slices of chilli.

Serve with cucumber and lime wedges.


Adjika, literally ‘red salt’, is a spicy and fragrant pepper paste from Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. You’ll find it completely addictive and you’ll be using it as a condiment for everything, as they do in Abkhazia. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.


4 red chillies, deseeded
4 tomatoes, deseeded
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ celery stick, roughly chopped
15 g coriander leaves
15 g basil leaves
15 g dill fronds
2 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt


1 slice white bread, crusts removed
6 tbsp milk
250 g minced pork
250 g minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp barberries
1 tbsp ground sumac
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp sea salt olive oil, for frying
Greek yogurt, to serve

For the adjika, put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend to a chunky paste. The flavour will become more rounded and mellow if you make the paste in advance and leave to sit for a while.

For the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients into a large bowl and use your hands to combine everything thoroughly. Mash together the bread and milk to make a paste, then mix this into the meatball mixture. Roll into meatballs; golf-ball sized.

Heat a slick of oil in a frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Start at a high heat to brown the outside, then lower the temperature until the meat is cooked through.

Serve with the adjika and a generous dollop of yogurt.


1½ cups loosely packed fresh breadcrumbs
200 ml thickened cream
250 g pork mince
500 g beef mince
1 onion, finely grated
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1½ tsp salt, plus extra to season
¼ tsp ground white pepper
100 g butter
¼ cup plain flour
1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

To make the meatballs, place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and pour over 2-3 tablespoons of the cream, then allow to soak for a few minutes. Add the pork and beef, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Using slightly damp hands, shape the mixture into ping-pong-sized balls and place on a large baking paper-lined baking tray. Pour a little water into the base of the tray and place into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the meatballs are just cooked through.

Melt half the butter in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs, shaking the pan regularly for about 3-5 minutes or until caramelised and the butter is browned. Remove the meatballs from the pan, set aside and keep warm. Do not wash the pan.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the remaining butter and scatter over the flour, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, then stir in the remaining cream. Season to taste, then then simmer just until slightly thickened.

Knights Meats