Spicy Pork Meatballs in Brothy Tomatoes and Toasted Fennel

Spicy Pork Meatballs in Brothy Tomatoes and Toasted Fennel

Based on 6 ratings

"Historically speaking, I have a bad attitude about meatballs. (I don’t love ground meat, and also I once was dumped the morning after a meatball-forward meal, and, yes, I blame the meatballs.) But I will say that I am coming around. After all, meatballs are undeniably excellent for serving large amounts of people, and here we have crispy, garlicky pork in a delicious, garlicky, tomato-y sauce. What’s not to love? I will give you a heads-up here: While one is not better than the other, these are less red-sauce Italian and more Isle of Capri Italian (do they even have meatballs there? I’m not sure). They simmer in a light, brothy tomato sauce flecked with toasted spices and lots and lots of garlic, then are finished with fresh herbs, salty cheese, and an ocean of olive oil, if you’re doing it right. Bound by yogurt with no bread crumbs or egg in sight, the meatballs are light, springy, and accidentally gluten-free, which is great— especially if you’re gluten-free, I imagine. But for me, what really sets these meatballs apart is that they go the fresh-tomato route rather than the canned- tomato route, which I suppose makes them more a late- summer meatball rather than a wintry meatball. If you can get Sungold tomatoes for this, they will light up your life and make this a pot of sunshine that you cannot help but dip some very toasty bread into, so as to not waste any of the delicious, porky sauciness (if not, cherry tomatoes will do the trick). Adapted from Nothing Fancy. Copyright © 2019 by Alison Roman. All rights reserved."

Difficulty

Easy 👌
50
min.
Preparation
0
min.
Baking
0
min.
Resting

Ingredients

Servings2
1 cloves
garlic (grated)
2 cloves
garlic
10 g
chives
10 g
parsley
62½ g
full-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp
fennel seeds
1 tsp
smoked paprika powder (ground)
¾ tsp
flaky sea salt
½ tsp
chili flakes
375 g
mixed ground meat
pepper
1 tbsp
olive oil
½
shallot
375 g
cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp
distilled white vinegar
10 g
mint
Pecorino cheese (for serving)
bread (for serving)
MetricImperial

Utensils

bowl (large), baking sheet, sauté pan, tongs, platter, cooking spoon, grater

  • Step 1/7

    • 1 cloves garlic (grated)
    • 10 g chives
    • 10 g parsley
    • 62½ g full-fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder (ground)
    • ¾ tsp flaky sea salt
    • ½ tsp chili flakes
    • bowl (large)

    Place the grated garlic in a medium bowl along with the chives (finely chopped), parsley (finely chopped, tender leaves and stems), yogurt, fennel seeds, paprika, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix until well combined.

  • Step 2/7

    • 375 g mixed ground meat
    • pepper
    • baking sheet

    Add the meat (ground pork, lamb, beef, and/or turkey (feel free to mix!)), season with pepper, and, using your hands, mix until well combined. Roll the mixture into balls about 1 inches in diameter (about the size of a plum; I like these meatballs on the smaller side). Place on a baking sheet or large plate.

  • Step 3/7

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • sauté pan
    • tongs
    • platter

    Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a few meatballs at a time, taking care not to crowd the pot. Cook, using tongs or a spatula to occasionally gently rotate them, until they are all golden brown all over (they may not hold their perfectly round shape, but that is more than okay), 8 to 10 minutes. As the meatballs are browned, transfer them to a large serving platter or plate. Leave the remaining bits and fat in the pot.

  • Step 4/7

    • ½ shallot
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • cooking spoon

    Add the shallot (thinly sliced) and sliced garlic to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is tender and the garlic starts to brown a bit, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Step 5/7

    • 375 g cherry tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

    Add the tomatoes (sungold or cherry tomatoes) and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they burst and start to become all saucy and caramelize a bit on the bottom of the pot, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the vinegar (distilled white vinegar orwhite wine vinegar) and 3 cups of water, scraping up any bits along the bottom. Bring to a strong simmer and reduce the sauce by about one-fourth, just until it thickens slightly (it should still be relatively brothy), 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Step 6/7

    Return the meatballs to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the flavors have melded, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Step 7/7

    • 10 g mint
    • Pecorino cheese (for serving)
    • bread (for serving)
    • grater

    Remove from the heat. To serve, top the meatballs (either in individual bowls or right in the pot) with the mint and more crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds, if you like. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve with the cheese (pecorino or parmesan) for grating and some toast (or crusty bread) for dipping.

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