Many years ago, my husband and I first tried Romesco sauce while on vacation in Barcelona. It was served with grilled ramps. We were instant fans! Using jarred fire-roasted red peppers as a shortcut is an absolute genius way to create it. I served the meatballs and sauce in this dish with slices of sourdough baguette to sop up every last drop. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sara Frost. I modified the proportions. The original recipe notes that the delicious sauce can add richness to other lean proteins such as fish, pan-roasted chicken breast and can also be used as a dip for vegetables. Next time, I may serve this dish with grilled scallions. Yum.
My son ate the leftover meatballs and baguette as a luxurious sandwich with melted cheese, topped with Romesco sauce, of course. This dish could also be served as a fabulous appetizer.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 3/4 lbs ground turkey
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
4 to 6 T finely chopped parsley, plus more coarsely chopped for serving
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 T plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used toasted sliced almonds)
1 12 to 16-oz jar fire-roasted peppers in water, drained (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 to 4 small garlic cloves, crushed (I used a garlic press)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
finely grated zest of half of a lemon
crusty bread, for serving, optional (I served it with a sourdough baguette)
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Using your hands, mix ground turkey, eggs, panko, cumin, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl.
Working one at a time, use a 1 1/2-inch scoop out to ration out the mixture. (I had 28 meatballs.) Place on a plate.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. (I used a large stainless steel “all-in-one” pan.)
Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer skillet with all of the meatballs to oven and bake until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Pulse drained fire-roasted peppers, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in food processor until almost smooth.
Transfer to bowl with almonds and stir in remaining 1/2 cup oil; season Romesco sauce with salt, to taste.
Spoon romesco sauce onto a platter or into shallow bowls; arrange meatballs on top.
Finely grate lemon zest over and scatter coarsely chopped parsley on top. Serve with crusty bread, as desired.
I don’t typically make dishes with Asian flavors, so this dish was a nice change of pace. Tsukune, Japanese grilled chicken meatballs, and the sweet and sour sauce they are typically served with were the inspiration behind this weeknight dish. The sauce was essential to this sheet-pan meal as well- we repeatedly drizzled it over everything.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I used freshly ground chicken thighs and omitted the water in the meatballs. The original recipe suggests using this tasty sauce on pork chops as well.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Sauce:
2/3 cup ketchup
4 T (1/4 cup) Worcestershire sauce
2 T rice cooking wine or water
2 T honey
4 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Meatballs & Assembly:
2 heads of broccoli or 2 large broccoli crowns (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 to 3 T vegetable oil, divided (I used canola oil)
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 to 1 1/4 lbs ground chicken (I used freshly ground chicken thighs)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
cooked rice, for serving (I used brown Basmati rice)
lightly toasted sesame seeds, for serving, optional
To Make the Sauce:
Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, rice wine or water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan.
Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl; set aside for glazing meatballs later.
Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.
To Make the Meatballs & Finish the Dish:
If freshly grinding chicken, use a meat grinder with the medium disk. Grind trimmed chunks of meat. (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.) Chill ground meat until ready to use.
Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin; slice crosswise into ½” pieces.
Cut florets into 2″ pieces.
Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (if using). (I used a dash or red pepper flakes.)
Push broccoli to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs.
Brush space in the center of the pan with remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
Using wet hands or a large cookie scoop, form into twelve 1 1/2″-diameter meatballs. (I placed the rationed scoops on a plate and then gently formed them into meatballs.)
Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture.
Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time
Remove from oven; heat broiler.
Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes- watching carefully.
Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallion slices, as desired. Serve with additional sauce on the side to pass at the table.
Everyone loves meatballs- right? These were a healthyish version packed with cilantro and spinach. We ate them over rice topped with dollops of garlicky Greek yogurt sauce with roasted cauliflower on the side. Yum.
My husband was gifted a meat grinder for Christmas. 🙂 This was the first time he used it, grinding chicken thighs for these full-flavored meatballs. He plans to make burgers with blended meats next. Fancy!
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I prepared the seasoned meat about 6 hours ahead of time but it can even sit overnight in the refrigerator so that the meat absorbs the seasoning. I baked the meatballs (in the same oven as the roasted cauliflower) and used red pepper flakes instead of a serrano chile. I also added a yogurt sauce for serving. Fantastic.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Meatballs:
1pound spinach, washed
1 1/2pounds ground chicken (I used 5 freshly ground chicken thighs- medium grind)
2teaspoons kosher salt
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2teaspoon lemon zest (I used the zest from 1/2 lemon)
pinch of ground cayenne
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (I crushed them using a mortar and pestle)
pinch of ground cinnamon
1cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
1serrano chile, with seeds, finely chopped or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1cup soft fresh bread crumbs, from about 4 slices of crustless sandwich bread (I used 3 slices of Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane, crusts removed, pulsed in a food processor)
1/2cup heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or ricotta cheese
extra-virgin olive oil, for the baking sheet
lemon wedges, for serving
cooked rice, for serving (I served the meatballs over white Basmati rice)
yogurt sauce (or store-bought tzatziki), for serving (see below)
For the Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
pinch of ground cumin
1 garlic clove, finely grated or pressed through a garlic press
fresh dill, cilantro or parsley, finely minced, to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the spinach: Plunge leaves a handful at a time into a pot of boiling water. Leave just long enough to wilt, about 30 seconds, scoop out with a spider or slotted spoon and drain in a colander and cool under running water. Repeat until all of the spinach is wilted.
Remove and squeeze wilted leaves into a ball. I used a potato ricer and squeezed out the excess liquid in batches.
Using a large knife, roughly chop spinach on a cutting board — you should have about 2 cups.
Squeeze into a ball again to remove excess water. (This may be done several hours or up to a day in advance and refrigerated.) Again, I used a potato ricer and removed the excess liquid in batches.
If freshly grinding the chicken, grind into a large bowl using the medium grinding disc.
Combine the ground chicken, salt, pepper, lemon zest, cayenne, nutmeg, fennel seeds, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, chile (or red pepper flakes), egg, bread crumbs and cream in a large bowl. Using your clean hands, knead everything together, mixing well. Leave to absorb seasoning for 15 minutes or overnight. (I refrigerated it for about 6 hours.)
Make the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate for flavors to develop.
Test for seasoning: Take a small amount and flatten into a thin patty. Quickly cook in a small skillet, about 1 minute per side. Taste, then adjust the mixture’s seasoning if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, form 19 to 24 rough balls and place on a large plate. (The mixture will be soft.)
Using a brush, coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
Lightly form the meatballs and position them on the prepared baking sheet. Along the long side of the pan, I placed them in rows of 5. (I had 19 meatballs.)
Bake meatballs until well browned underneath, about 15 minutes. Using a stiff metal spatula, pry up and turn over meatballs (they may want to stick a bit). Bake until browned on second side and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each one registers at least 160°, about 4 to 5 minutes more.
Serve over rice garnished with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with sauce (or tzatziki) and lemon wedges.
The large size of these meatballs prevents them from becoming overcooked in the oven- genius. I also loved the store-bought marinara shortcut. We ate them with an entire loaf of sourdough baguette garlic bread which was essential. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I used ground turkey and modified the proportions. Easy and delicious comfort food. Everyone absolutely loved it!
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings, about 12 to 14 meatballs
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups panko
3/4 cup milk or water
1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 oz Parmesan, finely grated (about 3/4 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lbs ground turkey or ground beef (20% fat) (or other ground meat)(I used 1 2/3 pounds ground turkey)
warm homemade or store-bought tomato sauce (I used 28 oz jar of Rao’s marinara)
basil leaves, chiffonade or torn, for serving
Place rack in top third of oven; preheat to 425°, preferably on convection.
Lightly brush a large rimmed baking sheet with oil.
Using a sturdy wooden spoon, vigorously stir eggs, panko, milk, salt, garlic powder, several cranks of pepper, Parmesan, and remaining 3 T oil in a medium bowl until nearly a smooth paste.
Mix in one quarter of meat (combining just a small amount of meat in the beginning makes it easier to incorporate the rest without overmixing).
Add remaining meat and mix well to thoroughly combine, but don’t overwork it.
Using oiled hands or a large cookie scoop, form into 12 to 14 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake meatballs until well browned underneath, about 15 minutes. Using a stiff metal spatula, pry up and turn over meatballs (they may want to stick a bit). Bake until browned on second side and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each one registers 160°, 4–7 minutes.
Divide meatballs among plates and spoon some sauce over. Alternatively, warm the sauce in a large, shallow pan and place the meatballs into the sauce.
More meatballs! This is an updated version of the classic British dish. Ottolenghi describes the key elements as “well-cooked meat, crisp pancake and velvety gravy.” He modified the popular dish by using ground pork in the meatballs. It was very hearty and rich.
The complete dish was time consuming to prepare, but the components can be made separately and ahead to save time, if desired. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yotam Ottolenghi. I modified the baking times.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Time: about 2 hours
For the Batter:
1cup/240 ml whole milk
2/3cup/160 ml India pale ale or another pale ale (I used Sierra Nevada)
2T Dijon mustard
1 3/4cups (225 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1tsp kosher salt
For the Gravy:
2 T sunflower or canola oil
1 T (15 g) unsalted butter
2small onions (about 12 oz (350 g) total), halved and thinly sliced
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 T all-purpose flour
2cups/480 ml chicken stock
1/3cup plus 1 T/100 ml India pale ale
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Meatballs:
7oz/200 g sourdough bread, crusts discarded and bread cut into 1/4-inch (1/2-centimeter) cubes
3/4cup/180 ml whole milk
1 1/2pounds/700 g ground pork
4oz/115 g pancetta, very finely chopped (I used a food processor)
1/2 onion or 1very small onion (about 3 oz/80 g), grated
1/3packed cup/20 g roughly chopped parsley
4garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2teaspoons lemon zest
Kosher salt and black pepper
6 T/90 ml sunflower or canola oil
Heat the oven to 475°F/240°C, preferably on convection.
Prepare the batter: Add the eggs, milk, beer and mustard to a large bowl, and whisk vigorously until foamy, about 1 minute.
Add the flour and salt to a separate large bowl, making a well in the center, and pour the egg mixture into the well, in about four increments, whisking lightly each time until the flour is just incorporated. Whisk until there are no lumps and the ingredients are just combined, taking care not to overwork the batter.
Set batter aside for at least 30 minutes, or while you continue with the next step.
Prepare the gravy: Add the oil, butter, onions, rosemary and vinegar to a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-centimeter) baking dish (tin)(Do not use pyrex/glass). Bake, stirring a couple of times during cooking, until the onions are thoroughly collapsed and browned, about 20 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, stock and beer in a bowl until smooth. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper, then pour flour mixture into the baking dish.
Return gravy to the oven and bake, stirring twice throughout, until the gravy is thick and rich, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs and keep warm.
While the gravy is cooking, prepare the meatballs: Soak the bread in the milk in a small bowl and set aside until the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes. Use your hands or a fork to break apart the bread into a lumpy mash.
In a large bowl, mix together the ground pork, pancetta, onion, parsley, garlic and lemon zest with 1 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper. Add the bread and use your hands to knead the mixture until it is very well mixed. Shape into 12 large meatballs.
Spread 2 tablespoons oil across the bottom of a large roasting pan (tin), about 9-by-13-inches (23-by-33-centimeters) in size. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Add the meatballs and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until some of their liquid has been released. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet (tray) lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Pour the liquid released from the meatballs in the roasting pan directly into the gravy, and then wipe the roasting pan dry.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons oil to the meatball roasting pan and return to the oven until very hot and beginning to smoke, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Working as quickly as possible, pour the batter into the pan (it should bubble around the edges) and then add the meatballs and 2 rosemary sprigs. Return to the oven immediately and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 400°F/210°C (don’t open the oven!) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until golden and well risen. (If you want, near the end of baking time (when the custard is set), you can sneak the gravy into the oven to rewarm during the last 5 minutes of baking.)
I love one-pan dishes! This dish is made in the oven using one baking dish. It was also easy to prepare. 🙂 I modified the recipe due to personal preference- and to incorporate ingredients that I had readily available. I included all of the options in the recipe below.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I modified the proportions and oven temperature, used celery instead of fennel, and added carrots. I also substituted sweet Italian pork sausage for hot sausage and green lentils for brown lentils. The vinegar was essential to the finished dish.
Yield: Serves 6
4 celery stalks, diced or 1fennel bulb, cored, cut into 1/2-inch wedges through the root, plus 1/4 cup fresh fennel fronds
4 large carrots, diced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds bulk hot or sweet Italian pork sausage (or fresh Italian sausages, casings removed)(or a combination)
3cups chicken stock
1 1/2cups green or brown lentils
4 to 8garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1fresh rosemary sprig
1-2tablespoons sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2cup fresh parsley leaves, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
In a 9×13-inch baking pan or baking dish, gently toss the celery and carrots (or fennel wedges) with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (I used a ceramic baking dish.)
Roast until vegetables are golden brown underneath, about 10 minutes for fennel or up to 20 minutes for carrots and celery. (Fennel will not be tender at this point.)
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use your hands or a spoon to mix the sausage with the egg until combined. Roll the mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs.
Add the chicken stock, lentils, garlic and rosemary to the roasted vegetables. Stir to combine, then season with 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Place the meatballs in the lentil mixture, drizzle the meatballs with olive oil, then roast until the meatballs are browned on top and lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Discard the rosemary sprig, then stir in the vinegar, parsley leaves and fennel fronds, if using (reserve a few fronds for garnishing, if desired). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the lentils and any braising liquid onto shallow bowls and top with the meatballs.
Garnish with additional parsley leaves and fennel fronds, if desired.
These sandwiches are a great weeknight dinner. Using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, lamb or pork makes them a little bit lighter as well.
After seeing sandwiches served in taco racks at NYC’s Chelsea Market, I used taco racks to assemble these messy sandwiches. Genius! 😉
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken and added lemon juice, garlic, and herbs to the sauce.
Yield: Serves 4
1.25 pounds ground turkey or chicken
1/2 white onion, diced small
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley and cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cucumber, diced large (about 1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1/2 a lemon, more to taste
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 to 4 T minced fresh dill
2 T vegetable oil
2 handfuls of grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise or 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
4 small naan or pitas, warmed
1/2 cup fresh mint or cilantro, for serving
sliced or chopped red onion, for serving, optional
In a large bowl, combine ground meat, diced onion, chopped parsley/cilantro, cumin and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
Using your hands, form mixture into 8 oval patties.
In a medium bowl, toss together cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and dill; season with salt and pepper. Add additional lemon juice, if desired.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium to medium-high. Cook patties until browned on all sides and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes. (I cooked the meatballs until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.)
Divide patties and tomatoes among warm naan or pitas. (I assembled the sandwiches in taco racks.)
Top with cucumber-yogurt sauce and mint or cilantro. Top with red onion, if desired.
Fold to enclose (if not using taco racks) and serve.