Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home together meatballs trump home alone meatballs

Last week when Cobe was away I made meatballs. I was very proud of myself and was all set to write a post about home alone meatballs and how when I'm home alone, I take care of myself, I make meatballs.

Not like Cobe who buys avocados and eats dinner standing up.

But you know, they weren't that great. They had all this potential, made with ground pork and adorned with pine nuts and currants. They just came out a bit heavy.

Then this week rolled around and I flipped open my Mexican Everyday cookbook to find "Chipotle Meatballs."

Time for meatball trial #2.

I dashed home at 6:15 for a 6:30 dinner and was throwing bacon in the food processor when Cobe walked in the door. I had these on the table in one hour. No joke.

And they are perfect, soft and yet meaty, subtly flavored with mint, and swimming in a beefy smokey chipotle sauce. They go well with mashed sweet potatoes and watercress salad, or at least that's what I served them with and they tasted mighty fine.

Rick Bayless, you are my main man.


Chipotle Meatballs
(adapted from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday)

for the meatballs:
3 slices bacon, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs (use that old stale bread, toast it if it's not completely stale, then throw it in the blender)
1 1/4 # ground pork
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 teaspoon salt

for the sauce:
28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo with 2 T. sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups beef broth.

Preheat oven to 450. Combine bacon and 1 garlic clove in food processor, pulse a few times till finely chopped. Add eggs, bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon salt, pulse another few times, then add pork and mint. Pulse a few more times til well combined but not all pastey.

Wet your hands and form the meat into little balls. Place in a greased 9x12 inch baking pan and bake 15 minutes, turning once. Will be lightly browned.

While those are baking, clean out food processor, and put tomatoes, chipotles and sauce, oregano, 2 cloves garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and process till smooth.

When meatballs are ready, blot up excess fat (or pour off if a lot). Then pour sauce over meatballs. Cook another 15-20 minutes. Then add beef broth (heated up before adding so it doesn't cool everything down) and swirl around.

Mashed sweet potatoes

4 sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2-1 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into reasonable pieces (~2 inches each). Cook in boiling salted water until soft, ~10-15 minutes (should be able to mash easily with a fork). Drain. Place in big bowl. Add butter and mash. Heat up milk in microwave, then add a little bit at a time until right consistency. Taste. Add more butter if needs a little creaminess. Add honey if needs a little sweetness (usually it does). Add salt and pepper to taste.

p.s. you can mash these with one of those stick blenders and it comes out yummy but don't ever ever put them in the food processor or you get paste.

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