Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lemony leek meatballs

Forget everything you've ever known about (bad) meatballs. Tough. Hard. Bland. Dense. Bleh. Nope, not these ones. These meatballs will change your world.

Lemony leek meatballs: great as-is, or served with a dollop of yogurt

Meatballs are always plagued with their main ingredient: meat. All that protein, squished together in a little mass-- it's hard to keep it tender without it falling to shreds. Which is why generally, I'm not a giant fan of those little balls of meat.

So why would the first recipe I make from the Jerusalem cookbook be the lemony leek meatballs?!?

This cookbook is absolutely gorgeous and the recipes all look fabulous. Love it! 
Now I know why all the food bloggers have been going ga-ga over this book.
Thanks to my bestie for getting it as my b-day gift.

Well first of all, they put this recipe in their vegetables section. Yes. Vegetables. Because there are literally more leeks in this dish than meat. (Just over half a pound of meat for 8 large patties, so clearly meat is not the main ingredient in these meatballs.) So right away I was curious. Then of course the authors just had to call this dish lemony leek meatballs. "Lemony" might be one of my favorite adjectives, because as you may know, I love lemon anything-- both sweet and savory.

So my piqued interest and love of lemon got the best of me, which meant these meatballs were the first recipe I tried.

And holy cow am I glad I did!!!!

The leeks just make these the most tender and moist "meatballs" you will ever have. And cooking them in chicken broth and lemon juice (after searing them first) creates the most intensely delicious punch of flavor, while also adding to the tenderness of the meat. Oddly enough, the combination of leek + lemon tasted a lot like artichoke. Not sure why my taste buds worked that out with the very simple list of ingredients in these meatballs, but either way they were de-licious!!

So next time you're in the mood for some meatballs, forget everything you thought you knew and make this dish!

Buen Provecho,
Jacqueline

Lemony Leek Meatballs,
from the Jerusalem cookbook

Yields 8 patties (serves 8 as a starter or 3 to 4 as main dish)

Ingredients
trimmed leeks, 1 ¾ lb in total
9 oz ground beef
scant 1 cup (90g) bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP oil
¾ to 1 ¼ cups chicken stock
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

garnish, optional
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 TBSP fresh chopped parsley

Directions
  1. Cut the leeks into 3/4 inch slices, rinse well, and steam them for about 20 minutes until completely soft. Drain and leave to cool, then squeeze out any residual water with a tea towel
  2. Process leeks in a food processor by pulsing a few times until well chopped but not mushy. Alternatively, roughly chop the leeks by hand. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the leeks, meat, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, and pepper. Form the mix into 8 patties, roughtly 2 ¾ by ¾ inches. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  4. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan (with a lid). Sear the patties on both sides until golden brown. (This can be done in batches if necessary. Mine fit perfectly.) 
  5. Pour over enough stock to almost, but not quite cover the patties. Add the lemon juice and ½ tsp salt, if necessary. Bring to a boil, then cover, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. 
  6. When the meatballs are done cooking, remove the lid and cook for a few more minutes, if needed, until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and sit aside to cool down. Serve the meatballs just warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of the yogurt and a sprinkle of the parsley. 
 If you use your largest pan you can probably get all the patties in a single layer

3 comments:

andrea chiu said...

The food is absolutely amazing. I hope I could taste and cook that in actual, maybe if I have much time since I am so busy working. Anyways, thanks for sharing your article. God Bless and have a good day. Visit my site too.

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gelrenard said...

They smell good and then I read steps wrong. Among others, I added the broth too soon. It looks as though it will be fried, seasoned meat.-the forms broke apart.

Susan said...

One of our librarians has a cookbook club potluck monthly meal and this month we read your cook book - I made the Lemony leek meatballs and they came out just like the photo and were DELICIOUS! I used cilantro instead of parsley just because I like cilantro better but everything else was as the recipe was written. Will be making again.

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