I felt like making meatballs. I had bought a veal shoulder roast, boneless, all rolled and and bardé (wrapped in strips of pork fat) and tied up with string. I buy those whenever they go on sale at the supermarket, which is two or three times a year.
This time, I cut away the string, cut the veal into cubes, and included the bardes de lard gras, the strips of fat. I also added 200 grams of smoked pork lardons and Walt put all that meat through the grinder together while I chopped the onions and olives.
The Corsican recipe calls for veal for stew plus lardons, so I was using all the right ingredients while changing the presentation and the method. And then it occurred to me that instead of following the recipe and putting both whole green and whole black olives into the tomato sauce (with garlic, onions, thyme, and rosemary) that the meatballs would cook in, I could chop up the pitted green olives I had in the refrigerator and add the olive mince to the meatball mixture.
That's what I did, adding some chopped onion, mashed garlic, black pepper, hot red pepper flakes, and egg yolks too. Oh, and some cooked rice I happened to have in the fridge, and a small handful of dry breadcrumbs (we make breadcrumbs with the "dead bread" we always seem to have around — odd pieces of dried-out baguettes).
We are really into roasting things in the oven these days. Like the meatballs, for instance. Place them on a silicone pad on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil over them, and put them in a hot oven. There they will brown, and you hardly have to watch them at all — much less worry about turning them over and over in a frying pan, spattering the whole kitchen with grease, and ending up with meatball crumbs. As they roast, the meatballs will release most of the fat they contain.
Here's a recipe for the Boulettes de veau et lardons aux olives that you see in the pictures here. I know this recipe would be good made with ground turkey, which is easy to get in America but not so easy in France.
Here's a link to a similar Veau aux olives recipe I made about
Veal and smoked pork meatballs with olives
For the meatballs:
1¾ lbs. ground veal
6 oz. smoked pork lardons (bacon)
1 small onion, diced hot red pepper flakes (to taste)
breadcrumbs abd/or cooked rice (1 cup total)
¼ lb. pitted green olives, minced (½ to ¾ cup)
3 egg yolks (or 2 whole eggs)
For the sauce:
1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 or 5 ripe tomatoes
3 sprigs of thyme
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup white wine
12 dried shitake (or other) mushrooms
salt and pepper
¼ lb. black olives (¾ cup)
Make the meatballs by combining all the ingredients and mixing them together well. If you are grinding the meat yourself, run the smoked pork through the grinder with the veal. Otherwise, dice it up finely with a knife. It goes in raw.
Add very little salt to the mixture, if any, because the olives and bacon will be salty enough. Form 1-inch meatballs. Brown them in a pan on top of the stove, or on a silicone pad (or parchment paper) in a hot oven.
Make the sauce by sautéing onion and garlic in olive oil until it just starts to brown. Then cut up the tomatoes and add them and their juice to the pan with the herbs, white wine, mushrooms, and salt (sparingly) and pepper. Cook the sauce at medium heat while the meatballs are browning. Add water as needed.
Add the browned meatballs to the sauce and cook on low heat for 30 to 60 minutes. Ten minutes before you plan to serve and eat the meatballs, add the black olives to the sauce. They will plump up and add saltiness to the finished dish.
Serve with pasta and a green salad dressed with vinaigrette.
18 months ago.