It's no secret that I love meatballs. Barely a month goes by without a new recipe. But, I'm aware that many of my blogging friends are vegetarians and can't experience the joy of popping a savory orb into their mouths. Monday, I saw a large bag of mushrooms in my fridge that needed rescue before they became slime. Then it hit me, mushroom balls. So, I made duxelles (thank God for food processors) with the mushrooms, added feta cheese, parsley, onion, and an egg. I intended to add bread crumbs, but discovered there was nary a crumb to be found in my pantry or freezer. How did that happen? Nevermind, they weren't necessary, as it turned out. The meatless balls were delicious, if I do say so myself. And I do. They looked meaty, but tasted like concentrated mushrooms. The only drawback is that without bread crumbs, the mushrooms mixture didn't go very far. I only wound up with six medium sized balls. So, I think a person would need a lot of funghi to make enough for a crowd. Adding bread does seem like a good idea next time.
These lovely balls ( I keep thinking of Alec Baldwin in the classic Shweaty Balls skit on Saturday Night Live) are meant for all vegetarians, but especially Shannon and Anne . But, you don't have to be a vegetarian to love these things.
There aren't many ingredients in this recipe, so each one is important. I used parsley and it did the trick, as always. Parsley isn't my favorite herb, but it would be a sorry state if it wasn't available for cooking. I always have a bunch of it in the fridge, along with my other go-to herb, cilantro. When I was a kid, I thought parsley was grown just for decorating food in restaurants. And I thought there was only one kind, the curly variety. I was almost an adult when I became aware of Italian parsley, which is my favorite.
This recipe is my submission to Weekend Herb Blogging, which was created by the extraordinary Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. This week it's being hosted by Laurie at Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. Stop by her super-cool blog and check out the wonderful recipes.
(I discovered a Greek recipe on the Internet and am including it after the recipe I used. It looks like it would be good, and it contains bread to stretch out the recipe.)
Note: Since this recipe contains no bread, the flavor is quite mushroomy, which I loved. But, it won't make a great many balls. But, you could add some breadcrumbs if you like. The next time I make it, I will probably start with about a cup of fresh ciabatta crumbs.
1 pound white or crimini mushrooms, wiped clean
about 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 small onion, chopped fine
flour fror dredging
olive oil or other oil for frying
Put mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground, like ground beef. This is called duxelles. Take the mushrooms and put them in a clean cloth or doubled paper towels, and wring the mushrooms until all the liquid comes out. Put the mushrooms aside.
Put the parsley, cheeses, onion, mushrooms, egg, salt and pepper (to taste) bowl and mix until it looks like meatloaf mixture. Wet your hands in cold water and roll the mixture into small or medium balls, then dredge them in flour and set on a plate. Heat about an inch of oil in a skillet (non-stick is probably best) until it's hot, then add the balls to it. Cook on each side until the turn a nice crusty brown. Then serve with sauce if you wish.
Spiced Red Sauce
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. stir and set aside until ready to use.
Here is a recipe I found online. Haven't made it, but it looks promising.
Mushroom Balls - (manitarokeftedes)
15 big fresh mushrooms
2 small onions
6 slices of stale bread
some flour for coating
olive oil for frying
Wash the mushrooms and cut them in small pieces (use a blender if you have one). Salt them and let them dry. Soak the bread. Chop the onions and mix them with the chopped mushrooms, the soaked bread, the eggs the salt, the pepper, the cumin and the oregano. Stir the mixture well. Shape the mixture into small balls . Coat them with flour and fry them in olive oil.