Elk meatballs with red cabbage salad and blackened apple

111 Matt Tebbutt recipe template

Preparation time

Cooking time
30 mins to 1 hour

Serves 4

By Niklas Ekstedt
From Saturday Kitchen


For the raw red cabbage salad

  • 450g/1lb red cabbage, core removed and sliced thinly on a mandolin
  • 40g/1½oz salt
  • 85ml/2¾fl oz red wine vinegar
  • 140g/5oz sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf

For the meatballs

  • 120g/4½oz butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 tsp breadcrumbs
  • 85ml/2¾fl oz full-fat milk
  • 85ml/2¾fl oz double cream
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp finely ground juniper berry
  • 680g/1lb 8oz elk meat mince, coarsely ground (or venison mince)
  • 280g/10oz pork mince

For the mashed potato

  • 85ml/2¾fl oz milk
  • 85ml/2¾fl oz double cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 15g/½oz onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 450g/1lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 60g/2¼oz butter
  • salt

For the blackened apple

  • 2 red apples, each cored and cut into 16 wedges
  • 30g/1oz butter

To serve

  • 200g/7oz lingonberries


  1. To make the raw red cabbage salad, place the cabbage in a bowl and combine with the salt. Mix well, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 3–4 hours. Place the vinegar, sugar, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Leave to stand for 10 minutes and then strain the liquid into a bowl. Rinse the salt from the cabbage under cold running water for 5 minutes. Drain the water from the cabbage and then combine the cabbage with the vinegar liquid. Chill for 24 hours before serving.

  2. To make the meatballs, heat half of the butter in a saucepan over a medium–high heat and fry the onion until softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk and cream in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Add the onion, salt, pepper and juniper berry. Fold in the minces and mix well (do not mix for too long to prevent the mixture from splitting). Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3. Wet your hands and form the mince mixture into meatballs. Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs until golden brown. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes.

  4. To make the mashed potato, heat the milk, cream, bay leaf, peppercorns, onion and nutmeg in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from heat and cover with cling film. Leave to stand for 20 minutes, then strain into a bowl. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling salted water until soft. Drain and leave to steam for a couple of minutes, then mash the potato and add the strained liquid. Whisk the two together as lightly as you can, then add the butter and combine gently. Season with salt.

  5. To make the blackened apple, spread out the apple wedges in a cast-iron frying pan or griddle. Place over a medium–high heat. Toast the apple wedges until they release some liquid. Turn up the heat and caramelise the surface until almost burned, turning the apples over to cook both sides, and then remove from the heat. Add the butter, leave to melt and baste the butter over the apples.

  6. Serve the meatballs on a serving plate with the cabbage, blackened apples, mashed potato and lingonberries.

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