Friday, April 23, 2010

Meatballs II

I loved the tartness imparted by the pomegranate juice in the sauce of Meatballs I so much that when I decided to make a Spanish meatball recipe I chose one that had lemons in it. I have many Spanish cookbooks and each cookbook carries several meatball recipes, but this is the first recipe I've ever seen that used lemons. The recipe, "Pilar Monteoliva's Meatballs in Lemon Sauce", is taken from Penelope Casas' latest cookbook, La Cocina de Mama.

The pork-and-beef meat mixture contains chopped cured ham, parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, milk, two whole eggs and fresh lemon juice. This is browned in olive oil and then cooked in a sauce of onions, chicken broth and white wine. To finish the sauce, a crushed mixture of parsley, garlic and saffron, together with more fresh lemon juice, is added at the end. Now the next step is interesting. Two egg yolks are first thinned with some broth and then added to the sauce to thicken it. The egg yolks and the saffron from the crushed mix contributed a yellowish hue to the sauce, which goes with the idea of lemons, I suppose!

The crushed mixture of parsley, garlic and saffron imparted a very typical Spanish meatball flavor to the dish. The lemon scent and very slight tartness made the meatballs very appetizing. Dave said they were so easy to eat, he ate almost the whole thing! I made some green beans with garlic, smoked paprika and olive oil as a side and we had a bottle of Limerick Lane Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley to go with it. The beautiful table runner was made by Dave's mom (check out her quilting projects here).

I think these Meatballs II are even more decadent than Meatballs I (where a friend pointed out, rightly, how it was funny that I tried to make MEATballs healthier by using olive oil instead of butter!). I didn't attempt any healthier substitutions in this recipe, but I did make a side of green vegetables to go with it, and the red wine will hopefully work its "French paradox" magic...

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