Pork and Fennel Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

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Pork and fennel meatballs in tomato sauce, perfectly paired with Spier’ss new release Seaward red

Pork mince is incredibly versatile and I cook with it often – in meatloaf, a gazillion Asian recipes with or without noodles and, most often, tender little meatballs. This recipe from Spier is a welcome update on your regular beef meatball method, with the addition of fresh fennel. Serve these hearty nuggets in sauce with pasta, mashed potato or hunks of crusty bread to mop up the sauce. It pairs wonderfully with Spier’s new Seaward Shiraz! If you can’t find fresh fennel bulb, simply substitute with 1 teaspoon ground fennel, plus chopped fresh fennel herb.

Pork & Fennel Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Serves 6

Pairs beautifully with Spier Seaward Shiraz 2017


For the sauce:

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed/grated
  • 2 cans (800 g) whole Italian tomatoes, blitzed to a smooth pulp
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the meatballs:

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped (save some of the fronds for serving)
  • Rind of a small lemon, finely grated
  • 10 ml smoked paprika
  • 1 kg pork mince
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot and fry the garlic over medium heat until golden. Add the smooth tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until reduced by a third. Set aside.

Prepare the meatballs:

In a wide pan, heat the oil and fry the onions, fennel and lemon rind until they are soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl, adding the smoked paprika, mince, salt and pepper. Mix well. Shape into balls (about 4-5cm in diameter). Using the same pan as before, add more olive oil and fry the meatballs on all sides over medium heat until just cooked. Serve with the warm tomato sauce, scattered with fennel fronds. Optionally, serve with pasta/starch of your choice.

The Seaward range is exclusively available from the Spier wine shop and in stores nationwide from July 2019.


About the wine: Spier Seaward Shiraz 2017

High-quality Shiraz grapes were selected from Darling, Durbanville and the southern side of Stellenbosch for this wine. Having matured for 14 months in a mixture of first, second and third fill oak barrels, the Shiraz has beautifully layered aromas of mulberry, violets and plum supported by infused allspice. The palate has richness with good length and smooth tannins. Enjoy with your favourite cut of grilled red meat and root vegetables or a vegetarian moussaka.

By choosing Spier, you are supporting Spier’s Growing for Good learning initiatives that empower communities to create positive social and environmental change. For more information please visit https://www.spier.co.za/growing-for-good


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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.