Main Course Recipes

Classic Meatballs

by Anne Maxfield on January 21, 2019

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti and MeatballsEvery now and then you need a meatball fix.

And every now and then you just want the comfort of spaghetti and meatballs.

With a winter storm about to hit, it seemed like the perfect time to whip up a batch of my favorite classic meatballs.

This recipe on the Food52 site from Rao’s had to be pretty much the standard. It makes about 24 meatballs.

Classic Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • Olive oil, for cooking, about 1 cup

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist. Shape into 2 ½” balls.

Accidental Locavore Frying MeatballsHeat about 1/4” oil in a large sauté pan. When oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches. When the bottom half of the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, turn and cook top half. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

After browning them, if you want to cook them in sauce, use your favorite sauce and add the meatballs into the simmering sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with pasta and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Finished MeatballsMy verdict: About as good as they get!

It’s going to seem weird to be adding water when you’re making them, but it does get absorbed and the meatballs always come out great!

The amount of olive oil you’ll need will depend on the size of your pan and be sure not to crowd the meatballs or they’ll never brown. Better off to do them in batches.

What’s your go-to meatball recipe?

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Lamb Meatballs with Feta

by Anne Maxfield on January 7, 2019

Accidental Locavore Lamb Meatballs With FetaThese lamb meatballs are the first thing I’ve made from Ottolehghi’s new Simple, but although they’re also the second thing I’ve made from the book, there are a lot of other great looking recipes.

Funnily enough, friends of mine sent me a photo of what they had made from the book—lamb meatballs with feta.

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 ½ ounces feta crumbled into ½” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses (optional)

Accidental Locavore Lamb Meatballs PrepPreheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the lamb, feta, thyme, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well to combine, then form into 1 ½” balls.

Put the olive oil into a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the meatballs and fry for 5-6 minutes. Turn them gently and brown on all sides.

Transfer the meatballs to the parchment lined sheet and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses. Bake for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb Meatballs FriedMy verdict: These are easily made ahead of time. Skip the preheating of the oven, make the meatballs, fry them and finish them off in the oven when you’re ready. I’ve served them with orzo, but rice or couscous would be good too.

The pomegranate molasses is optional, but it really adds a nice tartness to the meatballs and is a handy thing to have in your pantry. If you need an excuse for adding it to your shopping list, this is a great salad dressing.

I always think parsley is optional but had some on hand the second time I made the dish. Didn’t seem to be mission critical if it was in or not.

A pet peeve is dried thyme, it easily ruins a dish, so if you don’t have fresh thyme, go easy on the dried stuff, or substitute some dried mint or oregano.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chorizo and Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on November 26, 2018

Accidental Locavore Peppers Stuffed With ChorizoOne of the best parts of being in a CSA (besides the farm-fresh veggies) is the chance to try different veggies. Not that poblano peppers are so “weird,” but on an average day  I’d probably only pick up a couple for a specific dish. When they were part of our share a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was time to see what I could do with them.

Stuffing them seemed like the thing to do and this interesting recipe from Rick Bayliss—his take on chile rellenos – was my starting point. Serves 4.

Accidental Locavore Peppers Stuffed and FinishedStuffed Poblano Peppers with Chorizo and Cheese

For the peppers:

  • 4 large poblano peppers, as smooth as possible
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces goat cheese

For the topping: 

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Make the peppers: 

Accidental Locavore Peppers for RoastingRoast the chiles directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4” below a very hot broiler, turning regularly to make sure all the surfaces are well blackened and blistered.

Place in a bowl, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Rub the skins off the peppers and then cut a slit starting ½” from the top and going to the tip of the pepper. At the top, make a ½” cut on either side of the opening.

Open up the chiles and remove the seeds. Rinse the insides and place them cut side down on a paper towel to drain.

Remove the chorizo from the casings and crumble into a 12” non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, using a spoon to break up any large chunks, until the sausage is nicely browned.

Lower the temperature to medium, add the onions and salt. Stir to combine, then cover and cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Once cooled, crumble the goat cheese over the mixture and stir to combine.

Stuff each pepper with ¼ of the mixture. Fold the chile around the stuffing, leaving a gap in the center (see top photo).

Place the stuffed chiles in a 13×9” casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

To bake the chiles, heat the oven to 375°. Place the foil covered dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the topping:

Heat the olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bread crumbs and nuts. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring until the mixture is golden brown. Remove from heat, add the cilantro and set aside.

When the chiles are cooked, remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle the topping over the dish, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Peppers PlatedMy verdict: These were good, but not great and I’m not sure why. It could have been that I was too cautious about the potential for heat from the peppers and the chorizo and neither of them were hot at all.

The poblanos I got from the farm were small, so I used 9 of them and had some filling left. We had some lovely Argentinian chorizo from Barb’s Butchery and it was good with the goat cheese. The original recipe called for chayote or zucchini to be cooked with the onion, but we didn’t have any, so I left it out.

What’s good about this recipe is that you can stuff the peppers and make the breadcrumb mix ahead of time and bake them at your convenience, which is what I did.

While the chiles were baking, I made a batch of green rice to serve with them. When I had them as leftovers the next day for lunch, I chopped up the peppers and mixed them in with the rice and liked that just as much as the original dish.

 

 

 

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Braised Lamb Shanks with Herbs, Insta-Pot Version

by Anne Maxfield on November 12, 2018

Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot Lamb Shank With HerbsThese lamb shanks have become my favorite way to do lamb shanks.

The original recipe from the NY Times Cooking feeds 6-8. I’ve adapted it to use my Insta-Pot and made it to serve 2-3.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cup chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens or arugula
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint or dill or a combination
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • About 1/2 cup chicken or lamb stock, or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed (optional)

In a large bowl (or Ziploc bag) large enough to hold the lamb, mix together salt, paprika and pepper. Add shanks and rub all over with spice mix. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.

Hear a splash of olive oil in the Insta-Pot set to “Sauté.” Sear the lamb, adding more oil as needed. Take your time with this, making sure to brown the lamb all over. Transfer browned lamb to a plate.

When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to Insta-Pot and cook it in the lamb drippings (adding a more oil if pan looks dry) until limp and lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander, cayenne and allspice and cook until the garlic is very fragrant and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pot. Let mixture simmer until thickened and reduced by about a third (about 5 minutes). Add lamb back to pan and coat with the mixture.

Accidental Locavore Herbs for Insta-Pot Lamb ShankIn a bowl, toss together scallions, spicy greens, and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving, add chicken stock. Cover Insta-Pot and turn to “Slow Cook” and cook until meat is falling off the bones, about 6 hours.  If the bottom of the pan starts to dry out before lamb is done, add a few tablespoons of the stock or water to moisten it.

When shanks are tender, transfer to a heated serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you like, at this point you can tear the meat off the bones, or serve the shanks bone-in.

Turn Insta-Pot to “Sauté.” If pan is dry, add remaining stock or water and bring to a simmer. (If drippings in pan seem very fatty, spoon off some of the fat.) Bring drippings to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.

Once the liquid is reduced to a thin glaze, add butter to pot along with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining herbs (save those for garnish). Whisk sauce until smooth, then taste and add lemon juice as needed. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shanks in Insta-PotMy verdict: As I said in the intro, this might be my new favorite way to do lamb shanks! The shanks were so tender and the combination of cooked down and fresh herbs was delicious.

Doing it in the Insta-Pot has its advantages: you can brown the shanks without covering your stove in grease, and there’s only one pot to deal with. I just let them cook away on the counter all afternoon and finished them off before we ate. If I was braver, using the pressure cooker setting would probably save hours of time, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

I served it over some sliced potatoes I tossed in olive oil, microwaved for 4 minutes and then tossed in with the lamb, but orzo, couscous, polenta or rice would work well.

 

 

Share

{ 0 comments }