Yes!Chef! loves meatballs. And he likes to make big, fat meatballs with lots of flavor, which usually means a high degree of fat. We are not afraid of fat because, as Julia Child said, “Fat is flavor.”
These meatballs are also low carb and gluten free. You can put them on pasta if you like, but we enjoyed them on a fresh green salad with heirloom tomatoes that we got from the Farmers Market.
Speaking of the Farmers Market, I don’t think it’s going to be around too much longer as the days get a bit shorter and the nights get a bit cooler. The leaves are beginning to change and even though it still reaches the high 70’s to low 80’s here in the Sierras, it does drop down to the high 30’s to low 40’s at night.
Yes!Chef! happens to be in Phoenix as I write this. He’ll be there for a couple of weeks. I’ve given him strict orders to find regional food, take pictures of the food and take pictures of the area. He recently got rid of his ancient Blackberry and invested in an iPhone. So, he has no excuse not to take pictures.
But, before he left, we were able to explore the west shore of Fallen Leaf Lake. I love this little lake, which is almost a stone’s throw from Lake Tahoe, but a lovely little gem of a lake all on it’s own.
There are some very old buildings and remains of buildings which Yes!Chef! loves to explore.
Obie T. Dogg thoroughly enjoyed exploring the trails and wading in the shallow water.
Obie and I have also been down to the north shore of Fallen Leaf Lake a couple of times without Yes!Chef! It wasn’t near as much fun, but it was quite beautiful.
Before Yes!Chef! left for Phoenix, he did have time to try out this meatball recipe that he’s had in his mind for a while. He loves the flavors of Mexican Food and so he incorporated those fresh flavors into this recipe.
The meatballs were tender and flavorful. The sauce was tart, zippy and full of delicious pepper flavor. The Pepper Jack cheese was a perfect compliment to bring the sauce and meatballs together.
So, let’s get to it.
Giant Meatballs with Spicy Chile Verde Sauce (Gluten Free)
Serves 6-8 (or save some and freeze it)
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 cups almond flour (can substitute Panko for those not worried about gluten-free or low carb diets)
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 3/4 pound ground beef (20% fat)
- 1 3/4 pound ground pork
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp. salt (preferably Kosher)
- 1 tbsp. pepper
- 1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
- Lime wedges (1-2 per serving)
- Make Chile Verde Sauce and set aside.(Recipe follows)
- Saute onions and garlic with 1 Tbsp. canola until onions are translucent (5-8 minutes.) Remove from heat.
- Stir in Chili powder and cumin. Let cool.
- Combine almond flour and cream in a bowl. Let flour absorb all cream, about 15-20 minutes.
- Combine almond flour mixture, meat, onion mixture, cilantro, and eggs in a large bowl. Mix with hands until thoroughly mixed. It’s helpful if you add each item one at a time and mix together before adding the next item.
- Add salt and pepper and mix together. (If you want to taste test it, cook a little bit of the mixture in a pan until cooked and taste it for seasoning. Add more seasoning as you see fit.)
- Refrigerate mixture for 1 hour.
- Coat bottom of large pan with Chile Verde Sauce (recipe to follow)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Form 2″ diameter meatballs with your hands and place on top of sauce without touching each other (if you make the entire batch, you may need several pans.)
- Spoon a little sauce over each meatball.
- Cook meatballs until done, about 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from oven and top with shredded cheese.
- Place back under broiler until cheese browns. About 1-2 minutes. Watch carefully.
- Serve over a nice green salad or rice.
- Top with more cilantro and lime wedges.
Chile Verde Sauce
- 1/2 pound tomatillos, outer skin removed and chopped
- 1/2 pound jalapeños, roasted, seeded, and chopped
- 1 pound hatch chiles, roasted seeded, and chopped (roast with jalapeños)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 Qts. chicken broth
- 3 tbsp. lime juice
- salt to taste
- Heat all ingredients, except lime juice and salt, in a saucepan until it comes to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- Strain, reserving both solids and liquids.
- Blend solids with 3 cups of reserved liquid. (If you want a thicker sauce, add less liquid.) Blend until smooth.
- Add lime juice and salt to taste
- Use right away or chill until needed and reheat gently on the stove.
These are spicy, so if you want to substitute regular Jack cheese instead of Pepper Jack, feel free. Serving this with lime wedges also adds a cooling flavor to it. Yes!Chef! likes a little more spice than I do, so I added more lime juice.
It’s still warm here in Lake Tahoe, but I am beginning to see signs of fall, which is my favorite time of year here. Here’s a few end of season photos. Enjoy!