Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chipotle Meatballs

Alex has proposed a challenge - one whole week of cooking where we are not allowed to use any recipes and have to come up with everything all on our own.  It's going to be a tough challenge, but I am game.  But it can't be this week because I have already planned out all of our meals for the week!  Whatever week we end up picking for our challenge, I will let you guys know in advance.  Or at least I will let you know which dishes are part of the challenge.  And it might end up taking more than a week - I think I am going to adapt the challenge a little to do seven meals that are uniquely ours, even if it takes two weeks. 

For this week we are still using recipes that I picked out from other websites, cookbooks, magazines, etc, like this one from Simply Recipes.  The reason I wanted to make this recipe (aside from the fact that it sounds delicious) is that it would use up the ground pork in the freezer and the remaining chipotles in adobo and crushed tomatoes that we used to make our Smoky Shrimp, Hominy and Tortilla Soup.  It also had the added benefit of using up our remaining scallions and a half of an onion we had in the fridge.  Sometimes things just work out and it's wonderful.  And everything worked out with this recipe - it used up random ingredients in the fridge and it was really tasty.  We served it over brown rice and I thought it was delicious.  We were both a little worried that the flavor of the chipotles would completely overwhelm the flavor of the meatballs themselves but between the bacon and the ground pork the meatballs were porky enough to stand up to the spicy, smoky flavor of the chipotles.  Considering that they were only briefly simmered/tossed in the sauce, they soaked up a surprising amount of flavor while retaining their integrity.  I thought served over brown rice they were a fun variation on your typical Italian-American spaghetti and meatballs.  And who doesn't love a good spaghetti and meatballs?

Recipe after the jump!

Chipotle Meatballs
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup panko
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 lb ground pork
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tsp adobo sauce from the chipotles (we used somewhere around 1.5 tsp)
1 tbsp evoo
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped, about 1 cup
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 canned chipotles in adobo, minced fine and sauce reserved (we used 2)
half of a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Using your hands, combine bacon, 1 clove minced garlic, egg, panko, salt, pork, oregano and adobo sauce in a large bowl.  Don't overwork the meatballs.  Form approximately 8 golf ball-sized meatballs and space them out in a rimmed baking sheet or baking dish. Bake until lightly browned, flipping meatballs over halfway through to ensure more even browning, about 15 minutes.

While meatballs bake, heat the evoo in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions and saute until they just start to brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, then add the chipotles, the tomatoes, oregano and broth.  Mix well and add salt to taste.  Simmer the sauce uncovered as the meatballs cook.

When meatballs are ready, add them into the sauce and toss to coat.  If the sauce is too thin for your taste, continue to boil it down for a few minutes.  Remove meatballs and sauce with a spoon and place in a shallow serving bowl.  Serve with brown rice and scallions (or cilantro).

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