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Cooking Meatballs Without Browning

Asked by vanessajuliet. Answered on 11th May 2018

Full question

I am not keen on putting raw meat into a sauce as Nigella does for her Meatballs recipe. I always brown the meatballs first in a frying pan. Is it safe to put raw meat into this sauce?

Photo by Francesca Yorke
By Nigella
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Our answer

In the recipe for Nigella's Meatballs (from NIGELLA BITES) the uncooked meatballs are dropped directly into the simmering sauce. The meatballs are then cooked in the sauce. Although the meatballs are not browned first, they still cook though in the sauce and it is safe to add them to the sauce raw, as long as the sauce is kept at a simmer until the meatballs are cooked through. Cooking the meatballs this way means that they stay quite tender even when cooked.

Browning meatballs in a pan or oven before adding them to the sauce gives them a darker colour on the outside, which some people prefer. You could brown the meatballs in this recipe before adding them to the sauce but they will not need as much time cooking in the sauce so you should cook the sauce for 20 minutes, add the browned meatballs and then simmer for another 10 minutes. Whether you add the meatballs raw or after browning, you should check one or two of the meatballs before serving to be sure that that they are completely cooked though.

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