Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meatballs and Peas

So they say fall has officially started. Ha! Today it is a balmy 86 degrees outside. Though they say by Saturday we will dip into the low 70's. Sure wish it would stay there, though I'm thinking we're not quite finished with the hot and humid higher 80's here. I myself am through with the heat. Although, I'm not quite ready for coats and mittens either.
Even though I'm cranky about the weather, I'm never one to feel that I have to conform my ways of cooking to the temperatures outside. Therefore I could just as easily enjoy a warm comforting bowl of chili in the middle of the summer as I could enjoy a cold salad in the middle of winter.
This is one of those meals I could enjoy anytime. I found it here in my December 2009 Food and Wine Magazine. We both loved this and will be having it time and time again. It is pictured here over rice, though it is equally delicious over mashed potatoes.

For the meatballs. The original recipe calls for 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork (didn't have any ground pork on this occasion). I used ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme, parsley, and egg. The original recipe calls for raisins. I left them in the box for snacking on. I DO NOT like raisins in my ground meat recipes. (I omit them from picadillo as well.) Mix well and form into 24 meatballs.

Again, the original recipe calls for broiling the meatballs. I find that method more of a pain than simply frying them off in a little olive oil. So that's what I did. Pour wine into casserole and add the meatballs. (I bet you thought those were sitting in a puddle of oil!) I would suppose if you do not cook with alcohol, you could use some broth for an added flavor boost, your call there.

For the sauce: canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, oregano, frozen peas. You know the drill: in a little EVOO, saute the onions and garlic. Add the tomatoes and oregano, simmer a bit. Add the peas and simmer a bit more until sauce thickens some.

When sauce is thickened a little pour over meatballs and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve with your choice of rice, potatoes, pasta, or even polenta.

Simple and delicious.

Meatballs with Peas
Slightly adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
Adapted and tested by Food and Wine Magazine from Eugenia Bone


For the Meatballs
1/2 lb. ground beef chuck
1/2 lb. ground pork (I omitted this and just used 1 lb. ground chuck)
3 tablespoons golden raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (I omitted)
1 large egg
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (can't find it here, seriously!) Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (our parsley died on us, so I used 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup dry white wine

For the Marinara Sauce
1 tablespoon EVOO
1/2 cup onion, miced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 16 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper

Start by making the meatballs. In a bowl combine all the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, thyme, parsley, water, egg, and salt and pepper. Form into 24 uniform size meatballs. For this I like to use a small ice cream scoop (#25 or 30). Fry meatballs over medium to medium high in a little oil, browning on all sides. Transfer to meatballs to a baking dish. Add the wine and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium heat add the oil and saute the onion and garlic for approximately 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano and simmer for another 5 minutes. Lastly add the peas and simmer another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over meatballs and bake for 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve.
Makes 4 servings.

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Carla and Michael

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