Italian Meatballs

Now that our beautiful pork supply is dwindling (and what is now being called ‘sausagefest‘ is still some time away), it’s time to commit to the stockpile of beef in the freezer. I doubled this recipe and used two pounds of ground beef for these meatballs, and there’s plenty more where that came from. I like to make a lot at once and freeze the ones that aren’t eaten immediately.  On a tired night, we can have a quick meal when these are paired with fresh pasta from the freezer and home-canned sauce from the pantry.

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian, flat-leaf parsley
4 oz Parmesan, grated finely or processed in food processor
small onion, minced finely
1 pound ground beef  (We have also used a 1:1 mix of ground pork and beef to much success.)
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 tbls. red wine
2 tbls. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

flour for dredging
olive oil for pan

  1. Mix ingredients all together. Knead lightly until the meat looks smooth.
  2. Shape meatballs. Pack together firmly, but do not squish.
  3. Roll meatballs in flour.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium. Add a drizzle of oil (about 2 tbls.) until it looks shiny.
  5. Brown in skillet over medium-low, shaking often and rolling the balls over with a teaspoon.
  6. When ready to eat, warm tomato sauce and add meatballs. (This can be easily done straight from the freezer.)

Goat, Sheep, and Pig

A couple weeks ago, we purchased some goat meat at the Ballard Farmer’s Market and turned it into an improvised goat meat stew roughly adapting a lamb and lentil soup recipe.  According to Alice Waters quince also pairs nicely with lamb meat, so I threw it in.  The meat was good, a little tough and surprisingly mild – next time I will be sure to select a recipe which adds a richer flavor to the meat.  That may prove to be a while though!  I’ve recently placed an order for half a pig (coming in December) raised by Rolling Bay Farm (can’t get much more local than around the block).  Additionally a co-worker is having a lamb butchered and I will be lucky enough to get quarter!  (All this meat means I’ll finally try my hand at making sausages…)

Goat Stew

2 tbls. olive oil
1 lb goat
1 onion
4 carrots (in large pieces)
1 quince (quartered and cored, peel on)
4 cloves garlic, thick slices
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
mint (lots – to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/4 cups lentils
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup yogurt strained (5-8 hours in refrigerator through cheese cloth)

Start the carrots and quince in a small pan of water mixed with honey.  Simmer until needed.

Heat the oil over high in a deep pan and cook the goat until browned.  Remove the meat and set aside.  Add the garlic, onion, half the mint and the other seasonings to the pot.  Cook until onion softens and then add brandy.  Cook for a couple minutes then add lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are soft (about 20 minutes).  Partially blend the soup, return the meat and add the strained vegetables.  Heat for 5 minutes.  Serve with yogurt and remaining mint.

(Sadly the lentils were not local.)

Given how strong (and delicious) the odors were during cooking I expected a rich, deeply flavored dish.  However, the reality was a mild but addictive flavor which fell a little flat against the goat meat.  The quince was good, but I  overcooked it so it largely fell apart.  Individual hunks were reminiscent of pear, but more astringent.  The winner from this experiment was actually the strained yogurt!  I can’t wait to find other dishes to serve it with.

Here’s a view of the inside of the quince if anyone is curious (sorry for the quality of image).