Food & Wine (April 2014)
Meatballs are regularly on the menu at casa Bitten Word.
We don't typically use any specific recipe. We just buy a ground meat that looks good to us (typically turkey, chicken or pork), spice it up in a way that sounds good to us and go for it, cranking out (on our best days) enough meatballs for a meal as well as enough to store in the freezer for another lazy day.
For years, we've been big fans of Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs. They easy to throw together for a quick meal with some sauce. We've likely eaten dozens of bags of them, and you can almost always count on finding some in our freezer.
This recipe for Veal Meatballs with Mustard Greens -- from chef Hugh Acheson in the latest Food & Wine -- makes for a nice upgrade from the freezer aisle.
The secret to success for this meatball recipe is in the spices. With fennel seed, mustard powder, coriander, red pepper and a smoked chile powder, it's a much more sophisticated spice job than we typically do with our meatball concoctions. And it pays off. Plus, the veal itself is delicious -- very rich tasting.
We were doubters with this recipe. We assumed the meatballs would be good, but didn't think they'd work well with mustard greens. And when we tasted the bitter greens on otheir own, we thought they really wouldn't work well together.
But we were wrong. The meatballs are amazing. Paired with bitingly bitter mustard greens, they're even better. These meatballs are worth your time.
Do you have a meatball secret? A favorite recipe? Please share!
Total time: 45 minutes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chipotle or other smoked chile powder
1 pound ground veal
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (2 ounces)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound mustard greens, thick stems discarded and leaves chopped
1/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the minced onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic, the fennel seeds, mustard powder, crushed red pepper, coriander and chile powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; let cool.
In a large bowl, mix the cooled onion mixture with the veal, bread crumbs, cream, egg and salt. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, 5 minutes. Gently push the meatballs to one side of the skillet. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan, then add the mustard greens and stock.
Cover and cook over moderate heat until the greens are wilted, 4 minutes. Spoon the meatballs and greens into bowls and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: The meatballs can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.