Playing With My Food ~
A journal about food, thought, travel, and life; by Chef & Raconteur Chaz French.

Meatballs for Leigh’s Dad

So, my friend Leigh has a great relationship with her dad, and they have awesome Sunday dinners that Leigh is almost always the one cooking for and she has a challenge, her dad can’t have gluten which rules out anything with wheat flour. Breadcrumbs being an important part of meatballs pretty much rules them out for him.

I’ve been doing the low carb thing again, and last year had made low-carb meatballs that just happen to be GF (Gluten Free) so this weekend I made them again and this time, I made notes and measured things so I’d have a proper recipe to share with Leigh.

So here we go.

Low-Carb/GF Meatballs

First you’ll need about 1 quart of your favorite tomato sauce, if your favorite sauce comes from a jar in the food store, then make this one. (blend until smooth)

1lb ground chicken or lean pork (I used chicken this time)
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef 90/10 would best
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
salt to taste or dietary requirements
2 ounces pine nuts toasted
1 1/2 ounces grated fresh romano

Parchment Paper (NOT waxed paper) & Heavy Duty foil
Stand Mixer (or your hands)
Baking dish
Frying pan (largest one you have)
Pot (for the sauce)
measuring devices, spatulas, tongs, etc.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, let them cool and then grind in a food processor until pebbly, add the grated cheese and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Put the meats, spices, eggs and nut/cheese into the mixer and mix well. Take a small portion of the mixutre, make into a thin patty and cook so you can taste it, adjust seasoning if needed and taste again.

Cover and chill while you make the sauce, Set sauce aside.

Preheat oven to 325F

Form meatballs, a little bigger than golf balls, brown them in the frying pan with some olive oil. Meanwhile place a thin layer of sauce in the baking dish, when meatballs are browned on all sides, put them in the baking dish, cover with remaining sauce. Cover with parchment paper and then with the foil (the parchment prevents the sauce from reacting with the foil). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, remove foil and parchment (set oven to broil), skim off any grease that you can, add the topping (recipe follows) and put under broiler for two minutes.

Serves 4-6

2 ounces of pine nuts
1 1/2 ounces of grated fresh romano
2 tablespoons butter in small pieces (cold)

Grind the pine nuts and cheese until fine, add the butter and pulse until combined, should be a clumpy wet sand texture. Spread this over the top of the meatballs after baking and broil 2 minutes until golden.