What’s better than a new recipe for meatballs? This one appealed to me because I had most of the ingredients on hand and the potatoes were an interesting addition. Serves 4:
Mini Meatballs and Potatoes
For the mini meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb, or combination
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed between your fingers
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 small yellow onion, grated on the largest hole of a box grater
- 1 large garlic clove, finely grated or pressed in a garlic press
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 large Yukon Gold potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the meat in a large bowl and spread it out. Sprinkle the salt, dried mint, pepper and turmeric evenly over the meat. Add the grated onion and garlic and mix everything well with your hands. Roll the meat mixture into 1 ½” balls (about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture per meatball). You should have around 25 to 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and bake until cooked through and slightly browned on top, about 20 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. In a medium sauté pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the onion with a little salt, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and turmeric. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the garlic and turmeric are fragrant.
Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 2 minutes just to take the raw edge off. Push the potatoes to the sides and make a little space in the middle of the pot. Add the tomato paste to the oil in the center, stirring to cook off its raw taste and deepen the color, and taking care not to burn it, about 1 minute. Mix the tomato paste with the potatoes, add 1 1/2 cups of water, stir and bring to a gentle boil. Add the meatballs, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Taste the sauce and a potato and adjust seasonings to your liking. Add the cinnamon, gently stir, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes, until all the flavors have come together.
As meatballs go, these were pretty good. The sauce was great, and it was all stuff I had on hand so that made it easy.
At the risk of using another pan, I parboiled the potatoes so they wouldn’t need a lot of cooking with the meatballs which worked well. The cinnamon at the end really enhances all the flavors.