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Not yo mama's meatballs - a different meatball thread

I'm not interested in the traditional, Italian-American version. I want to know what CHers do that's off the beaten path.

for instance, I make Sicilian-style meatballs with Italian sausage and they are traditional in many ways (i.e.milk-soaked bread, fresh parsley & garlic) but the addition of currants and pine nuts and Locatelli pecorino romano cheese makes them a little more interesting.

What do you do? Swedish style, lamb meatballs, curried meatballs - hit me with some delicious meatball recipes.

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    1. re: King of Northern Blvd

      I had not, but thanks!! Lidia Bastianich's Sausage & Fennel Meatballs w/ orange zest look ridiculously good. I must make these.

      1. re: King of Northern Blvd

        The Meatball Banh Mi recipe that I posted in this thread was awesome and definitely not your mama's meatballs (unless your mama is Vietnamese)!

      2. My 90 year-old, Italian-American mother-in-law adds pine nuts and Romano to her meatballs so I consider that pretty traditional.

        3 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          I don't think most folks do pine nuts & currants ( the Locatelli perhaps). It's old school Sicilian but not generally what you think of as traditional Italian-American meatballs.

          @travelerjjm - Smoked meatballs sounds delicious!

          1. re: lynnlato

            Guess it all depends on where your Grandma is from.

            1. re: escondido123

              Or your father's parents, in my case!

        2. I love to smoke them! I make the recipe for smoked meatballs from Jeff Smith's Three Ancient Cuisines much of the time, but I have smoked more traditional ones, too. I use a stovetop smoker. A wok lined with foil works, too.

          1. I want to make these meatballs that I got at Costco last Holiday season. Chicken meatballs with cranberries and jalapenos. they are delicious.

            1. I sometimes make "surprise" meatballs. Each one is stuffed with something different inside. One will have an olive in the middle, one will have a piece of cheese, one will have broccoli, one will have a chunk of pickled turnip, or a mushroom, or pistachios, and so on. It's fun!

              1. lynnlato, those meatballs you describe are pretty traditional Italian-American--at least they were in my house growing up. Half our meatballs were always made with pignoli and raisins (currants being less available). All were made with pecorino.

                1. Chinese Lion's Head Meatballs.

                  1. I was just reminded of my old "hollow" Swedish food thread (long, long story, but I needed something for a theme-potluck) wherein a bunch of us invented Swedish meatballs stuffed with gravy, lingonberry jam, and/or cream cheese. It's one of my all-time favorite threads because it started out with my ridiculous request, yet, people really got into it.

                    Here's the whole thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5910...

                    Chowser was the first to try it: she put frozen gravy and jam in hers... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5910...

                    Link to the actual recipe I tried (MMRuth's Swedish meatball recipe--it's fantastic if you haven't tried it) and how I "stuffed" it:

                    ANd here's MMRuth's attempt: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5910...

                    Someone (chowser?) suggested that cranberry and/or gravy-stuffed turkey meatballs would be awesome. I doubt I can get to it this year (toddler at my knee and all) but if anyone's feeling experimental, I'd love to hear how they come out.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Oh wow. cranberry stuffed meatballs in a sauce of gravy would make a fabulous fall appetizer.

                      1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                        Does it sound like it would be delicious and super fun?


                    2. i prefer beef mixed with pork for italian-style meatballs and usually use romano as the cheese, as i prefer it over parm. add fennel seeds and red chili flakes. i like golden raisin in there, but the b/f not so much.

                      LOVE lamb meatballs, with plenty of lemon or orange zest, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, mint and coriander. yogurt sauce.

                      asian style, i use ground pork, lots of coriander, red pepper flakes and a smoodge of tom yam paste.

                      1. I haven't made these Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze, but I always have them on my to-do list. I think they look good...


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: valerie

                          These are good. Worth making in my opinion.

                          1. re: valerie

                            Okay, I've bookmarked these - they look & sound delicious!

                          2. We didn't grow up with red sauce meatballs. We were much more likely to have sweet and sour meatballs, lamb kofta masala, pork meatballs in gingered chicken soup or pork and beef in saffron sauce.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JungMann

                              Thank you JungMann, that was sort of my point for this post. What's traditional for some is not to many others. I love lamb kofta and the others you've described sound tasty too.

                            2. I've had chicken meatballs in chicken soup instead of matzoh balls. Light and delicious

                              1. Those Sicilian meatballs sound heavenly. Recipe please?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: melpy

                                  I usually use this recipe, which I found a few years ago at Epicurious/Bon Appetit (my Sicilian mom passed away when I was a kid so I never got her recipe). :( I like that they are baked, rather than fried. I bake them and then put them in my sauce and freeze extras. Enjoy melpy!

                                  Sicilian Meatballs (recipe from Bon Appetit 1999)

                                  2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
                                  3 tablespoons milk
                                  1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
                                  1/4 cup finely chopped onion
                                  3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
                                  1 large egg
                                  1 garlic clove, minced
                                  1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
                                  1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
                                  2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
                                  2 tablespoons dried currants

                                  Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, pine nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

                                  Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                2. A bit of a horse of a different color, but in Japan I ate eel meatballs (more like köfte) at a department store.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                    Get out of town?!! Did you like them? You've piqued my curiosity. Details please!

                                  2. Ćevapčići are made in the Balkans and served with ajvar, a roasted red pepper and eggplant condiment that replaces ketchup. They are not a meatball per se but are ground beef/pork formed into chubby logs. We have them whenever in the Balkans and the odd time in Canada.

                                    Shrimp "meat"balls can be excellent, especially served witih a citrus aioli or a chutney.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: chefathome

                                      Do you have a recipe for the shrimp meatballs?

                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        I'd love that recipe too, please!

                                        1. re: lynnlato

                                          I'm out of town and the recipe is in one of my cookbooks at home. However, this is another delicious recipe in the meantime:


                                          ETA: Thought of another good one - shrimp and pork meatballs with rujak sauce:


                                          Oh, another another...

                                          I have been making many different kinds of meatballs over the course of the past few years especially. You could call it an obsession...

                                          1. re: chefathome

                                            Love it! There are far worse obsessions chefathome. Thanks for the links. I've got reading to do.

                                        2. re: chefathome

                                          Had those log meat balls at the local Bosnian restaurant with bread onions and yogurt but I have had that condiment before as well.

                                          Yum! Now I have a craving!

                                          1. re: melpy

                                            You have a local Bosnian restaurant? Wow. Interesting that they served the meatballs with yogurt. If you cannot find ajvar, it is easy to make and delicious.

                                            1. re: chefathome

                                              I live in a neighborhood with a large Croatian/Bosnian population. Cevapi are plentiful around here and are delicious. They sometimes serve it with their version of cream cheese along with the ajvar.

                                              1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                                                I had never thought to try any dairy with ajvar. Great idea. My husband and I own a house in Croatia so we get there as often as we can! We really enjoy Istrian food.

                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                  A Croatian friend in the neighborhood turned us on to a Bosnian Butcher/Deli in the area so we have been introduced to a lot of Istrian food we knew nothing about..

                                              2. re: chefathome

                                                This area had a lot of refugees. I am the head of ESL locally and until recently the Bosnian population was our biggest group.

                                                I mispoke earlier it was sour cream and onions. I've stopped buying sour cream at home and just buy yogurt so I must have confused myself.

                                                1. re: melpy

                                                  Wow. That is very cool! I was wondering about the sour cream and was surprised I had not heard of it in that application. No wonder! ;-)

                                          2. I was gifted a little cookbook on appetizers quite a few years ago, and it included a meatball recipe with a Thai-influenced lamb meatball with lettuce wraps. When I had an occasion to take an appetizer, that recipe and the fact that ground chicken was on sale inspired me. I took the flavors from a traditional larb gai recipe and made them into meatballs, and served them in a lettuce cup. Very fiddley, but it turned out to be a big winner.