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eG Cook-Off 75: Meatballs


David Ross
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On ‎2‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 7:25 PM, ElsieD said:

Here is my contribution, courtesy of Serious Eats, Slow Cooker Sticky Thai Meatballs.  I made a paste of lemongrass, shallots, garlic, jalapeños, fresh ginger and fish sauce.  Half of this was sauted for a few minutes and then I added Thai Chili Sauce (not the super sweet stuff), brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar.  That got cooked for a minute then added some water.  This was left to simmer until it reduced by half.  This sauce was moved to the slow cooker and cooked for a further 8 hours.  At that point, chicken meatballs were added and cooked in the sauce for about a half hour.  The chicken meatballs were made by combining ground chicken, the other half of the paste, panko, an egg and some sliced green onion.

 

The meatballs were served on top of plain white rice and topped with a mixture of chopped cilantro, chopped unsalted peanuts, sliced green onions and fresh lime juice.  Very good.

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Elsie, those are the most delicious looking meatballs I've ever seen!

Edited by lindag (log)
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Everything looks so great. I think I'm going to put baking aside (for a while, anyway) and try my hand at some meatballs. I have a few restrictions, which should make things interesting. I keep kosher, which means: no pork (alas) or seafood; no mixing meat and milk; no mixing meat and fish (ergo, no fish sauce, not even in turkey meatballs). The price of kosher veal puts me into a dead faint, so that's probably out as well. I have, of course, made meatballs and meatloaf many times, and they were very good, but it has been quite a while since the last time, which was a recipe for Thai style turkey meatballs and I just left the fish sauce out. They were very good, although I'm sure they would have been better with it. I don't remember which recipe I used.  

 

I thought this might be a good time to look through "Aromas of Aleppo," a beautiful book I've had for quite a while and have enjoyed looking through, but used only once. (To make ka'ak.) One recipe has caught my eye: Sweet Cherry-Stewed Meatballs. (Kebab Garaz; if any of our Middle Eastern experts know anything about this, please chime in.) This is from "Aromas of Aleppo, The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews" by Poopa Dweck.

 

A small, bitter, crimson-colored cherry found near Aleppo, called the St. Lucie's cherry (Prunus mahaleb L.), is the featured flavor of two Aleppian Jewish dishes, this one and kibbeh b'garaz (Sweet Cherry-Stuffed Beef Slices). You can use either fresh pitted sour cherries or canned sweet cherries (though not the garish, syrupy sort used for pie filling). . .  The dish, kebab garaz, is a stewlike preparation. It was traditionally served over open-faced Syrian flatbread and topped with chopped parsley and scallions. Today, many Allepian Jews enjoy it over rice because it is often served alongside other dishes that are complemented by rice.

 

- I have a jar of Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries, which I think will work well here. I may just sprinkle in a bit of mahleb, since I have it. It seems to me that whichever cherries are used would turn it into a completely different dish, but it's not cherry season, so my choices are few. So:

 

Meatballs: 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 c. pine nuts, 1/2 tsp ground allspice, 3 Tbs oil

Sauce: 3 onions chopped (1 1/2 c.); two 15 oz cans dark sweet pitted cherries, including liquid, or 1 lb fresh cherries, pitted; 1 Tbs tamarind concentrate; 3 Tbs lemon juice; 1 Tbs sugar, 1 tsp allspice; 1 c. sweet red wine or Concord grape juice (optional)

 

Meatballs: combine everything but the oil, knead thoroughly by hand, form 2-inch long torpedo shapes. Saute in 2 Tbs oil on med. heat for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, turning to brown both sides. Remove and set aside. Use same pan to make the sauce.

 

Sauce: sauté onions in 1 Tbs oil 4-6 min or until translucent. Add liquid from canned cherries, along with tamarind paste, lemon juice, sugar, allspice, and 1/2 cup water (or 1 cup if using fresh cherries), and wine or juice if using. Stir, bring to a boil. Add meatballs and cherries. Cover, reduce heat to low, simmer one hour or until sauce has thickened.

 

I've never used tamarind paste, so will have to get some. But I think I will give this one a try.

 

 

 

 

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That sounds delicious.  I always keep tamarind paste on hand.  I shocked myself the first time I used the tamarind paste in a Thai-style seafood stew.  Way to pungent and sour, but once I played with it and the other sweeter ingredients I'll never do that dish without tamarind.  Your dish sounds wonderful.

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1 minute ago, David Ross said:

That sounds delicious.  I always keep tamarind paste on hand.  I shocked myself the first time I used the tamarind paste in a Thai-style seafood stew.  Way to pungent and sour, but once I played with it and the other sweeter ingredients I'll never do that dish without tamarind.  Your dish sounds wonderful.

Ah, pungent and sour. That sheds some understanding on the addition of sweet wine or grape juice, which I had been planning to omit. I'll use both the tamarind paste and the sweet wine judiciously.

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4 hours ago, David Ross said:

That sounds delicious.  I always keep tamarind paste on hand.  I shocked myself the first time I used the tamarind paste in a Thai-style seafood stew.  Way to pungent and sour, but once I played with it and the other sweeter ingredients I'll never do that dish without tamarind.  Your dish sounds wonderful.

Not sure if you are using a commercial paste BUT, making your own tamarind seasoning with a package of tamarind is a revelation.  The taste is so much better, milder and fresher.

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OK, I decided to go old school and have tender large meatballs in red sauce. In my experience, the priorities are as follows: Mix breadcrumbs, whole eggs, half & half, finely chopped parsley and more garlic than you think you need and let it sit for half an hour. Add the meat (ground beef, ground pork and ground veal), roll into balls (I chose large sized this time) and drop into simmering sauce and simmer for about 4 hours to get everything nice and tender. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface after the heat is shut off.

HC

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15 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

Not sure if you are using a commercial paste BUT, making your own tamarind seasoning with a package of tamarind is a revelation.  The taste is so much better, milder and fresher.

 

And to go  step further I use the pods (dry) and massage the stringy seedy paper bark amalgam - mild but definitely present

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Very interesting about the tamarind paste. She does have a recipe for it in Aromas of Aleppo, but since I know nothing about it I thought it would be safer to just buy some ready-made. But from what you're both saying, maybe not. Of course I'm not even sure what tamarind is, but I suppose that's easily resolved. Thanks for the ideas.

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That is the exact recipe I made to make the meatballs in that book (which are delicious).  Worth the effort.  The rest of the sauce is in the fridge.  I think it keeps well.

Edited by Okanagancook
Add information. It is not really a paste you get from the recipe. More like a sauce. (log)
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9 minutes ago, cakewalk said:

Very interesting about the tamarind paste. She does have a recipe for it in Aromas of Aleppo, but since I know nothing about it I thought it would be safer to just buy some ready-made. But from what you're both saying, maybe not. Of course I'm not even sure what tamarind is, but I suppose that's easily resolved. Thanks for the ideas.

 

I always think of the Omar Sharif and Julie Andrews movie when using them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tamarind_Seed

Here are 2 pods I just cracked open on my counter

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11 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

Tamarind are kinda like dates.  Fleshy pith surrounding a pit.  You can get them in most ethnic stores...East Indian or Asian.

 

You can also find tamarind in blocks of the pulp (usually with seeds mixed in).  Middle Eastern markets are another place to look. Here's a fairly extended discussion you may find useful: Tamarind

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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No I just peel off papery bark, pull off the long stringy bits and put sedds with their flesh is a MW proof container, add a touch of water and nuke to baby bottle temp. Let them soak while working on other prep for maybe 20 minutes and then massage off the flesh. The seed is smooth and pretty - I used to keep a small bowl of the seeds and loquat seeds on my coffee table. Every visitor wanted to handle them ;)

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19 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

That is the exact recipe I made to make the meatballs in that book (which are delicious).  Worth the effort.  The rest of the sauce is in the fridge.  I think it keeps well.

 

You've made these! Tell us all about it. Did you add the optional sweet wine? It seems that it's meant to balance the tamarind, but if fresh is less pungent than ready-made, I'm wondering how much might be needed. I will have to play around with amounts, but tips about what you did would be appreciated!

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I made the Tamarind Stewed Meatballs on page 162 which has no wine added.

i think you are referring to the Sweet Cherry Stewed Meatballs on the next page.  Those do look good and I have some frozen cherries in the freezer so I will try those soon.

 

she has a great explanation of tamarind on page 41.  

 

I love this book.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

You can also find tamarind in blocks of the pulp (usually with seeds mixed in).  Middle Eastern markets are another place to look. Here's a fairly extended discussion you may find useful: Tamarind

That's a great thread, very helpful. Thank you.

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31 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

You can also find tamarind in blocks of the pulp (usually with seeds mixed in).  Middle Eastern markets are another place to look. Here's a fairly extended discussion you may find useful: Tamarind

OMG of course there is a thread on tamarind on EGullet!

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I had purchased some lean ground pork the other day and opted to make Hoisin Glazed Cocktail Meatballs from the Serious Eats site.  It called for 1/2 pound each of beef and pork but I used all pork.  The meat was combined with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, minced green onion, sesame oil, honey, panko, an egg and some black pepper.  They were baked until done.  The sauce consisted of hoisin, ketchup, honey, unseasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce.  Garnish is green onion and sesame seed.  Another bunch of meatballs made with the other pound of pork is bubbling away for our dinner.  I'll post it later.

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Yesterday I made these curry meatballs for dinner.  There used to be a little cafe in the back of a convenience store called Sam's cafe where they made  various Thai curry sauces, from scratch.  They sold them frozen and they are, or more correctly, were delicious.  I pulled my last yellow curry sauce out of the freezer and added green onions, garlic, ginger, red curry paste (Blue Dragon brand), panko, cilantro and basil to ground pork.  This was formed into meatballs and baked.  When done, they were added to the curry sauce and simmered for a few minutes.  Served over soba noodles and garnished with sliced green onions and cilantro.  The meatball recipe came from the "kitchn" site.  Sure wish these people still made their curry sauces.

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3 minutes ago, Duvel said:

My god, you are the meatball queen !!!

 

 

Thank you, but not really.  I never make meatballs but this thread for some reason got me going.  I have one more to make and then, I promise, I'll quit.  The final one is a recipe I saw in The Washington Post for Sesame Noodles and Asian Meatballs.  It has what I think of as a satay type sauce.  Yum.

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