For some strange reason, we had an excess amount of pork chops hanging out in the freezer. I mean there was like, four different bags of varying styles of pork cuts. I knew I wanted to grind up the meat, along with some raw bacon, just to give it a little more fat flavor. The ground meat really came out gorgeous. That's when it came to me... meatballs. Thai meatballs! Of course, they would need a sauce to simmer in, so I went with a classic red curry peanut sauce. The meatballs have an amazing sweet-salty-sour taste, that pairs really well with the sweet-spicy-sour curry sauce. Serve with some crunchy pickled veg and some sautéed zucchini, and you have one AMAZING dish!
Let's mix together some meatballs:
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 thick slice bacon, minced
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 stalk lemon grass, peeled and minced (I subbed zest of one lemon and one lime)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbls fish sauce
- 1 tsp mirin, optional
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 2 Tbls chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs, more if needed
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ cracked black pepper
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbls olive oil along with garlic, shallots, jalapeño and lemon grass. Saute for about 3 min, until tender. Season with a little salt and pepper, and set aside to cool. In a small bowl, add soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin (if using), Sriracha and sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, add pork and remaining ingredients, except the bread crumbs, and pour in the soy and fish sauce mixture. Mix together well, and add bread crumbs enough to tighten the mixture up. You should be able to easily form a sturdy ball. Let rest covered, in the fridge for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400º
Using a small ice cream scoop. scoop out (2 ½ Tbls) balls of the pork mixture, and roll slightly to form a nice round shape. Place on greased cookie sheet or mini muffin tin, and roast the meatballs for 20 min. Let rest for 5 min.
Meanwhile, make the Red Curry Peanut Sauce:
- 2 Tbls vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup minced green onions
- 1 Tbls minced, peeled fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 2 Tbls Thai red curry paste
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 - 14 oz. can light coconut milk
- ½ cup low sodium chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 1 Tbls sugar
- 1 tsp Sriracha, optional
- 1 Tbls soy sauce
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 ½ Tbls lime juice ( about 2 - 3 limes)
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add next 3 ingredients; sauté 2 min. Add curry paste; stir 1 min. Whisk in peanut butter, then next 6 ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until reduced slightly, whisking in additional broth as needed, about 5 min.
Add reserved meatballs, cover loosely and heat through, about 5 min. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
Stir cilantro into sauce and serve meatballs over some rice or noodles, topped with pickled carrots and daikon (shown below), or pickled cucumbers. Garnish with more cilantro and chopped peanuts.
Pickled Carrots and Daikon:
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 small daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 2 Tbls chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 Thai red chile, seeded and thinly sliced (Sabrina used a red jalapeño pepper)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar and sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, add sliced chiles and kill the heat. Let cool for a minute or two. Tightly pack the cut veggies into a mason jar, place garlic and cilantro on top, and pour the hot liquid over the veggies and herbs. Seal the jar and let cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.