(Polpo’s) Pork & Fennel Polpette

Russell Norman is having a bit of an “it” moment. Or rather he was a few months ago, when his show The Restaurant Man aired on BBC2 (H. and I were definitely fans). Norman is the owner of several very successful establishments in London. There’s no doubt he’s a talented restaurateur (read his how-to guide to building a restaurant empire here!). I have been to two of his places and in my very humble opinion think are slightly overrated. Neither the service nor the food at either left me eagerly planning my next trip back.

That said, recently H. and I got our hands on some organic pork mince and I decided to try Russell’s recipe for pork and fennel polpette (note that I don’t have the Polpo cookbook but rather have the recipe saved from a free sample from Waterstones). I have to give it to him: the polpette were easy to make and really tasty. The fennel and pork combination really works.

Pork & Fennel Polpette
(adapted for 2 from Polpo)

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Mix the following in a large mixing bowl: 250g ground pork, 2 smallish eggs, 25g breadcrumbs, small pinch of chilli flakes, 1 tsp (or more as desired) toasted ground fennel seeds, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper.
  • Roll the mixture into balls and place them on a greased baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until they start to brown.
  • Finally, poach the meatballs in tomato sauce in a saucepan for 10 minutes.

My recipe for tomato sauce is as follows:    (*note that this make a generous amount needed for the polpette)

  • 2 cans good-quality diced or crushed tomatoes (best you can find)
  • 2 shallots (can also use an onion but I prefer the more subtle taste of the shallot) and 3-4 cloves/garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • large pinch of salt and generous grind of pepper (starting to sound a bit like Jamie Oliver here)
  • 3/4 tsp of tomato paste
  • mixed dried herbs, as desired

250g of pork made more than enough for the two of us. We had them with the slightly odd and not-very-classical-Venetian garlic mashed potatoes (I needed to use them up!) and a side salad.
early summer 14 030


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