Friday, April 5, 2013

Mexican Meatballs

Ok, so I already have a fantastic Italian meatball recipe (seriously, they are pretty amazing, and what’s this? Oh, a handy link to the recipe!) But the idea of a Mexican meatball was intriguing to me and anyway, can you really have too many great meatball recipes? I think not. I found this recipe on Cook Smarts, and it looked very tasty, very unique and not too incredibly difficult. It turns out that these meatballs are all of those things. They really pack a big aggressive punch of flavor with nice level of spiciness. I served these with some cilantro-lime rice, and I will say it was a little strange at first to eat meatballs and tomato sauce with rice, but you get over that pretty quickly. It also got a little salty by the end so I’d leave the salt out of the meatballs next time. 

Meatball Ingredients
2 Jalapenos, diced small
½ cup Red Onion, diced small
Handful of Cilantro, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 lb Ground Pork
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Kosher Salt (I would recommend omitting this or cutting in half)
1 tbsp Canola Oil
Crumbled Cotja cheese (I used Queso Fresco)

Tomato Sauce Ingredients
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Canola oil
28 oz can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
1 cup Coconut Milk
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt

Start by making your meatballs. Mix all the meatball ingredients except the canola oil and cheese together by hand. If you don’t already have cooking gloves, you can make your life immensely better by getting some. It makes jobs like this so easy, trust me. Roll your meatballs to be about an inch or so in diameter. Or however big you want them. I don’t judge. Just remember that adjusting the size will mean adjusting the cook times.

Preheat your oven to 375. In a saucepan, heat up your canola oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for just about a minute, making sure not to burn the garlic, and then add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, you can cook your meatballs. Heat the canola oil over medium high heat and brown the meatballs for about 2 minutes each. You don’t need to cook them through, just get a nice sear on the outside. Don’t overcrowd the pan; do them in batches if you need to. Then move the meatballs to a baking dish and pour the tomato sauce over the top. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, and then crumble your cheese over the top and serve over rice. I made cilantro-lime rice by just adding some cilantro, lime juice, and salt to the rice to taste. I think these were a great option for a meatball, if you aren’t craving the typical Italian version. Hope you like them! 

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