Yes, it's another recipe for meatballs. Frankly, I never get tired of them and would eat them everyday, if I could. The recipe comes from Food and Wine, for small hors d'oeuvre meatballs resting on lettuce cups, and dipped in sweet Asian chili sauce. Reading that, I immediately thought it foolish to wait until I threw a party. So I made my meatballs bigger, placed them on red leaf lettuce, and served them for dinner. There are many things to like about these tasty orbs. Besides being quick to make and low in fat,
they're fun to eat. I always like wrapping food up in a crepe, tortilla, or lettuce leaf and popping it into my mouth.
The meatballs contain cilantro and mint. Cilantro haters can omit it and just use the mint, or add some basil. I'm a great fan of mint used in savory dishes. If you've only had it in desserts, you'll be amazed at how it adds a unique taste, different from when it's used in sweets This recipe was made in honor of Weekend Herb Blogging, which was founded by the marvelous Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. WHB is being hosted this week by the lovely Anna at Anna's Cool Finds. Stop by her blog and see a recap of
all the wonderful herby recipes from bloggers around the world.
The recipe has an unusual step where you roll the meatballs in granulated sugar before you bake them. I no longer do this step, because I didn't think it made the meatballs taste any better than if you omit the sugar. The meat mixture tastes even better if it sits in the fridge overnight, so making it in advance is recommended.
Vietnamese Meatballs With Lettuce Wraps
(Adapted from Food & Wine)
Note: The following recipe is for making smaller sized meatballs. I served these for dinner and made my meatballs larger. Use your own judgement on how big you want them. Also, rolling the meatballs in sugar is optional--I don't do it.
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 small shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1teaspoon minced ginger root
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
3 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus 1/3 cup leaves for serving
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, plus 1/3 cup leaves for serving
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar (optional--I leave out this step)
1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce, leaves separated
1 small seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 small red onion, halved and sliced or use radishes
Asian chili sauce, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°. Position a rack in the top third of the oven. In a food processor, pulse the chicken until coarsely ground; transfer to a bowl. Add the fish sauce, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chopped cilantro and mint, cornstarch, salt and pepper and mix with your hands. I advise making a small test meatball, cooked in a skillet or microwave, to adjust seasonings, if you like.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sugar on a plate. Using slightly moistened hands, roll the chicken mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll the meatballs in the sugar until they are evenly coated. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through.
Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce, cilantro and mint leaves, cucumber and onion on a platter. Transfer the meatballs to the platter and serve with chili sauce.