Chef in Residence
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Remember, meatballs are not just for spaghetti. Alternative meats like bison, pork, chicken, turkey, veal and even shrimp will bring your meatballs to a whole other level. Bison (aka: Buffalo) is a great alternative meat which is three times lower in fat than beef, high in iron, protein and B12 while low in cholesterol. Good news is that our local grocery stores usually have lb packages of ground bison available in the meat department.
Here are a few recipes to start your creative meatball ideas in motion:
Middle Eastern Bison Meatballs:
(about 20 meatballs)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
1 tablespoon whole, organic milk
2 tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeño chile (about 1 large)
2 tablespoons whole-milk, organic yogurt (drained of excess liquid)
1 1/4 pounds ground bison
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped sage
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes (do not brown). Cool.
- Toss breadcrumbs with milk in small bowl to moisten. Place cooled onion mixture, breadcrumb mixture, jalapeño, and yogurt in processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse puree forms. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add bison, egg, cilantro, sage, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, pepper, and allspice. Mix until just blended. Using damp hands, form bison mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls
- Bake meatballs in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until brown and cooked through. Alternatively, fry meatballs in olive oil until brown on all sides or Skewer three meatballs onto metal or bamboo skewers and grill until brown on all sides. Serve with a yogurt dipping sauce:
Yogurt Dipping Sauce:
16 ounces greek yogurt or organic yogurt drained of excess liquid
4 to 10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup of diced or grated cucumber (Kirby or "English")
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- Mix all together and let rest 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Serve with Bison Meatballs.
Shrimp and Pork Meatballs: (about 36 balls)
4 Green Onions, coarsely chopped
2" piece fresh Ginger, peeled and grated, divided
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced, divided
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. Red Chile Flakes
1/2 cup, plus 3 Tbsp Tamari (dark soy)
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
2 organic limes, zest and juice
1/2 lb. Shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined (remove tails), chopped
1 lb. ground organic or pastured, humane raised Pork
1 organic Egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese-style coarse breadcrumbs)
4 tbs Olive or Coconut Oil
1 tsp, plus 1/2 tsp. Dark Sesame oil
3 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Sucanat (Non-refined Cane Sugar), to taste
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- In a food processor, combine the green onions, half of the ginger (grated), half of the jalapeno, garlic, chile flakes, 3 Tbsp Tamari, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil, cilantro, and lime zest. Pulse 5 or 6 times, then scrape down the bowl and process another minute.
- Add the shrimp and pork to the food processor and pulse 5 times. Then add the egg and pulse until the shrimp is ground finely, but do not process to the point of a paste. The mixture should start to come together, but may look a little wet.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl, and begin to add the panko, only use 1/4 cup at first, adding more as needed to absorb the excess moisture.
- Wet you hands lightly, and form the mixture into bite-sized balls.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive or coconut oil. Depending on the size of your pan, you will probably need to cook the meatballs in 2 batches to prevent crowding. Add the meatballs to the pan and do not move for about 2 minutes – to get nice and brown. Then turn the meatballs browning on all sides and cooking thru.
To make the dipping sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining jalapeno, remaining ginger (grated), Tamari, lime juice, granulated sugar, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Mix well and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with orange slices as a garnish.
Chicken Meatballs with Orecchiette
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large pastured eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon organic whole milk (preferably grass fed)
1 tablespoon organic or homemade ketchup
3/4 cup grated Romano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground organic or free range chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups organic or homemade chicken stock, hot
4 cups organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or more Romano
8 ounces bocconcini (tiny balls) mozzarella, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine.
- With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.
- In a large (14-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 2 minutes longer.
- Add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan or Romano. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil.
Do you have a killer meatball recipe you would like to share?