Friday, January 14, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Mountain Meatballs

Dear Lovely Jess,

I believe I have already told you this, but having moved back home, I have taken over the chore of making dinner on Monday and Wednesday nights. This sounded pretty basic and fun when I agreed to it, (and it's not that I hate doing it,) but I forgot that I would not have an afternoon to plan and shop and really enjoy the process of making the food because I work until 5. This means I get home at 5:20 and who wants to wait until 8:00 to eat dinner when you have worked all day and have to get up the next morning to do it all over again? The first thing I thought of was: I can make it the night before! But then it will seem like we're eating leftovers all the time.

Thus, I have come up with a solution: Me and Jason will try some fun recipes at his house, and I can learn the process and see if it is feasible to do certain prep the night before without it seeming like we're eating leftovers the next day.

Last nights mission: Mountain Meatballs from Jamie's America. This turned out so well and was really fun to make! (In fact, when I opened the book today to write the recipe for you, I got a huge whiff of the deliciousness from the night before. I love it when your cookbook keeps the smell of the recipe for a while.) I decided I will also make this on Wednesday next week, as I can easily prep the meatballs (to bake when I get home) as well as chop everything for the sauce. I think I will then be able to have it all done and fresh in 35 minutes or less!

Mountain Meatballs
From Jamie's America, Page 308
(serves 8)
olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and diced
2 1/2 lbs good-quality ground meat
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 handfuls of bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Cheddar Cheese (we used white cheddar)

For the chile sauce:
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 to 2 fresh red chiles, seeded and minced, to taste
1/2 tsp paprika
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
heaping 1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup molasses or dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 2/3 cups hot coffee
3 plum tomatoes, quartered
small bunch of fresh parsley

Preheat your oven to full whack. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Add the 2 diced onions and fry for 10 minutes or until softened, then remove from the heat and let cool completely. Put your ground meat into a bowl with the mustard, oregano, cumin, coriander, bread crumbs, eggs, a good pinch of salt and pepper, and the cooled onions. Use clean hands to really scrunch it all together well, then divide the mixture into 8 patties. (We got 12 out of it)

Pick each patty up, one at a time, and roll into a baseball-sized ball. Stick your thumb deep into the ball to make a pocket, then stuff in a good pinch of grated cheese. Cup, pack, and pat the meat around the cheese, using your hands to mold it back into a ball. You'll soon get the hang of it. Place the balls in a large oiled Dutch oven or roasting pan, drizzle over a good lug of olive oil, then bang into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and sizzling.

Meanwhile, crack on with your chile sauce. Use paper towels to wipe out the pan you cooked your onions in, and put it back on medium heat with a few lugs of olive oil. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, fresh chiles, and paprika and fry gently for about 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar, molasses or sugar, mustard, coffee, and tomatoes, and bring everything to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. It should be thick and delicious, but if you'd like it a bit thicker, just turn the heat up and cook for a few more minutes.

Remove the cooked meatballs from the oven when they're ready and spoon away as much of the fat from the pan as you can. Pour your chile sauce over the top, and return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes. Finely chop your parsley, sprinkle over, and serve the a spoonful of rice or mashed potatoes and a lemony green salad.

We found you didn't need anything (rice or potatoes) on the side. They are pretty perfect by themselves. One warning for you, if you chose to embark on this recipe: be careful when you add your hot peppers to your sauce! Jason and I started hacking and coughing because we forgot that the vapour from the peppers tickles your throat. We were coughing, laughing and had some tears, but it was all worth it in the end.

I love you,