Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Meatballs with Buttery Apple Sauce and Make-Ahead Gravy

bacon wrapped pork meatballs

Many food cultures claim meatballs, albeit in different guises, as one of their specialities but Scandinavia happens to take the crown. This is my tasty riff on pork meatballs.


1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
350g free-range pork mince
20g fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage leaves
½ teaspoon finely chopped marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup finely grated peeled apple
¼ cup finely grated peeled carrot
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
9-10 streaky middle bacon rashers, each rasher cut in half lengthwise, then into half width-wise


Lightly grease a low-sided baking tray with baking spray.  Put the oil and onions in a small frying pan set over medium-hot heat and fry for 5-6 minutes or until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook for a further 1 minute or until soft but not brown. Cool.

Put the cooled onion mixture and all the remaining ingredients, except the bacon, into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly (use wetted hands) and shape into 36 balls.

Lay the bacon pieces on a clean work surface. Wrap a piece of bacon around each pork ball and place onto the prepared tray, seam side down. Cover and refrigerate overnight or prepare to cook and serve.

Preheat oven to 210°C. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes or until juices run clear (test by inserting a metal skewer into a meatball). Loosen meatballs from the tray with a fish slice and transfer to individual plates or a platter. Accompany with hot Buttery Apple Sauce and Make-Ahead Gravy. Serves 6-8

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This sauce goes well with many pork or ham dishes and it’s divine with black pudding. It freezes well, so make now when apples are plentiful.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place 3 large apples (peeled, cored and cut into wedges) onto a small baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Toss well to coat. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples are soft.

Transfer apples to a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add 5 tablespoons diced and softened butter and process to a purée. Add 5 tablespoons water and pulse to combine. Stir in ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add 3 tablespoons additional water and reheat gently before serving. Makes about 350ml

If you really love gravy it’s a good idea to make a large quantity in advance. This can be refrigerated for up to a week before using, or frozen for up to three months.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan set over a medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons flour and stir well, then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes or until flour smells nutty.

Stir in 2 teaspoons Vegemite, 2 teaspoons blue cheese and 2 teaspoons crab apple, quince or redcurrant jelly. Slowly stir in 4 cups chicken stock. Add 1 sprig rosemary and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove rosemary and add ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Cool and refrigerate to reheat later. When reheating add ½ cup additional stock or water. Serves 8

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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