By Chef Laura Frankel
These are not your mother's meatballs! Skip the cloying, overly sweet sauce and use subtle and stylish Date-Honey.
Date-honey adds a sophisticated sweetness that is rich and earthy. This recipe is modern with no added sugar and you can easily substitute turkey for ground chuck.
*Chef's tip- I use a panade in my ground meat dishes. A panade is a starch and liquid mixture that adds moisture to meatballs, meatloaf and other dishes. It is not a way to "stretching" the meat. It is there because meat shrinks as it cooks, and ground meat, more so, and squeezes out moisture in the process. The panade is a moist "place holder" and keeps the meat from contracting so much as to be dry and flavorless. A panade can be made with soft bread crumbs, oats, cooked rice, barley or other cooked grains. The liquid can be wine, stock, beer, water or any flavorful liquid.
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, grated on a box grater
2 garlic cloves, grated on a box grater
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce or 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Silan (date-honey)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For The Meatballs
1 cup soft bread crumbs (leftover challah works well for this)
½ cup chicken stock, white wine or water
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1 small onion, grated on a box grater
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
Heat a medium sauce pan, with the olive oil, over medium heat. Add the grated onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is very fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Decrease the heat to low and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.
Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl and add the stock or other liquid. Stir to combine.
Squeeze excess liquid out of the bread crumbs. Transfer the breadcrumbs to another bowl and discard the liquid.
Add the remaining ingredients for the meatballs and gently mix together. With light and slightly wet hands form the meatballs. You can also use an ice cream scoop for this and then all the meatballs will be the same size.
Heat a sauté pan, lightly coated with olive oil, over medium heat. Brown the meatballs in batches until caramelized.
Transfer the meatballs to the sauce and continue cooking in the sauce. Serve the meatballs with rice, potatoes or favorite vegetable. Garnish with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds.
Recipe: Kosher, meat, Rosh Hashanah
Laura Frankel is the Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons (Wiley) and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes (Wiley), and the former chef and founder of Shallots restaurant. Chef Laura writes for The Jerusalem Post and Bitayavon and Joy of Kosher magazines and is an avid blogger and a passionate farmer's market supporter, giving demos and teaching classes all over the country featuring market produce.
Visit her website: www.ChefLauraskosher.com. Follow her on Twitter: cheflaura1, and check out her Facebook page cheflauraskosher.
Chef Laura's books can be found on Amazon.com: Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes
and Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day