Braised Fennel Meatballs

Recipe courtesy Quinn Staples


750 g ground chuck

1 Tbs (15 mL) canola oil

1/3 cup (75 mL) fennel, fined diced

1/3 cup (75 mL) onion, fined diced

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, chopped fine

3 Tbs (45 mL) fennel seeds, toasted

2 tsp (10 mL) coriander seeds, toasted

1 ½ Tbs (25 mL) salt

2 tsp (10 mL) ground black pepper

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

50 mL canola oil

1 cup (250 mL) red wine

Demi-glace (available at specialty markets)

Mirepoix of ¼ onion, ½ medium carrot and 1 celery rib, medium diced


  1. Sweat the fennel, onion, bay leaf and garlic in oil until translucent. Season with a little salt and discard the bay leaf. Chill the mixture.
  2. Grind the fennel and coriander seeds (use your coffee grinder) and add to the vegetables. Combine the chilled mixture with the ground chuck and season with salt, pepper and sugar.
  3. Pulse 1/3 of the mixture in a food processor until thick and pasty; no more than a minute. Combine the paste with the ground chuck mixture and cook a tablespoon of the mix to check seasoning, adjust if necessary.
  4. Portion the meat in 30 mL round, seamless balls and lay out on a tray. Chill all the balls for 20 minutes.
  5. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and add some canola oil. Fry the meatballs in batches, shaking the pan to brown them evenly. Reserve each batch in a casserole dish and add more oil if needed. Pour off any oil when all the meatballs are browned.
  6. Deglaze the pan with red wine and reduce by half. Heat the demi-glace with the wine and pour over the meatballs. The sauce should just cover the meatballs.
  7. Bring the casserole to a boil and scatter the mirepoix over the meatballs, cover with a lid or foil and braise in a 325° F oven for 2 hours. Serve with the celeriac purée underneath and some sauce, or with your favourite pasta.

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