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Charlie Barely Meatballs

I was on a radio show recently and the host was chatting to me about my recipes and life on the islands. If I was to visit Lewis, what is the first thing I should do when I arrive in Stornoway?’ he asked. Without a pause, I replied, ‘Go to Charles Macleod butcher’s and pick up a black pudding!’ I serve Charlie Barley’s black pudding for breakfast, lunch and dinner – but this could be one of my favourite recipes. Serving a little bit of Italy in the Hebrides!



For the tomato sauce

  • 6 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tins plum tomatoes
  • 300ml (1 1/4 cup) water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil, to saute

For the meatballs

  • 250g (9oz) Stornoway Black Pudding
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) minced beef
  • 100g (3 1/2oz) pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 50g (1 ¾ oz) Parmesan, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. First, make the sauce. Saute the shallots and celery in olive oil until they begin to soften.
  2. Stir in the thyme and garlic. Add the tomatoes and water and stir in along with the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, then simmer for an hour. 
  3. To make the meatballs, start by crumbling the black pudding and mince into a bowl. Add the pancetta, parsley, thyme, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix this all together with your hands. Make roughly 32 golf ball-sized meatballs, place them on a board and chill them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, stir the meatballs into the sauce and let them simmer for 30 minutes, then allow the pan to rest for 10 minutes off the heat. Sprinkle some parsley on top and serve with pasta or thick slices of your favourite sourdough.

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