Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Curry Meatballs

I was finding myself having one of those black holes of recipe inspiration.  It's a viscious cycle sometimes.  I can't think of any new ideas for recipes, I panic that I will have nothing for the blog, then that makes it even harder for me to come up with new recipes.

I thought it was going to be particularly difficult these days because I'm on a bit of an austerity diet.  Vacations and birthdays and visits from friends have caused me to indulge in a bit too much gluttony and it was starting to show on the scale.  I knew I had to take some drastic measures. It was time for another 3-week sugar fast.  Usually sugar fasts are also wheat fasts (that's one way to enforce the gluten-free lifestyle in this house).  I can lose a few pounds nicely this way.

These sugar fasts have caused me to become more interested in the whole "Paleo" diet even though I'm a bit of a skeptic about diets.  It's a pretty tough idea for me to follow through with since it requires abandonment of all grains and sugar and even dairy products.  However, I am trying to keep my diet as natural and fresh as possible and the Paleo eaters, while a bit "out there" in their thinking, are nothing if not natural. 

Surprisingly enough it was a paleo website that provided me with inspiration for a new recipe.  I found a recipe for meatballs in a coconut sauce that sounded delicious - sort of.  It needed a little TERP treatment to make it truly delicious, but once I knew what I wanted to do, a recipe came together.

I seasoned meatballs made from turkey and chicken sausage with mint, cumin, and cinnamon.  The sauce was made from fresh tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, spices, and coconut milk.  I served it over cauliflower puree, but rice will do just fine. 

One issue I have with meatballs is that since I have started to cut the gluten, I haven't found a good substitute for bread or breadcrumbs.  I hate the taste of rice breadcrumbs.  Nut meals haven't been much improvement either.  Paleo eaters just leave it out.  I don't think the elimination of bread was detrimental to the taste or consistency of my meatballs.

Fresh tomatoes are good and abudant this time of year, so if you have them, use them.  You can experiment with canned during other times of the year.

Like the photo?  I took the trouble of setting up the light box and then realized my camera battery needed charging and ended up taking this with my phone.  Not the prettiest dish in the world?  That's okay.  It tasted pretty good.  It was a lot of work though, so I'm not sure how worth it the whole thing was.

Curried Turkey Meatballs

For Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey
2 large links chicken sausage (avoid fancy flavors - mild Italian will do) removed from casing
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 egg

Mix together all ingredients.  Shape into balls and fry in a little olive oil until browned on all sides.  Place in curry sauce and cook for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

For Sauce
5 cloves garlic
1" piece of ginger
2 tsp salt
1 onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamon
2 tsp garam masala
2 carrots, cut in small pieces
6-8 ripe red tomatoes (depending on size), cored, seeded and diced
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbl olive oil for cooking

Mince garlic and ginger.  Then mince them together with the salt, smooshing them up with the flat of your knife.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan or saute pan.  Add onions to the pan and then add the cumin, cinnamon, cardamon, and garam masala.  Stir till onions are well coated and cook until onions are soft.  Stir in ginger-garlic mixture and cook until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and cook until they are soft and start losing their shape.  Stir in coconut milk.  At this point you can add the meatballs to simmer.


Lo said...

Wonder if GF cracker crumbs would work well for a recipe like this?

No matter, IMHO -- I think the bread/cracker/crumbs in most meatball recipes are typically used to "stretch" the amount of meat used anyhow. So, technically, maybe these are even better!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I hadn't thought about crackers. I should investigate. You're right though about the reason for using bread in the first place. I have often enjoyed using milk-soaked pieces of bread in my meatballs, making for a soft, light texture, but my childhood hatred of meatloaf came from the hard, bready taste of meat weighed down by dry breadcrumbs, so perhaps good meatballs are truly better off without it.

The Duo Dishes said...

It's always rough when lots of overeating has you feeling bloated and slow. Yuck. A change in pace of eating really kicks you back into gear. Love the cauli puree.

polwig said...

I love all these spices in the meatballs, I will be making these once it cools off a bit. Light box you say? Did you buy it or make it yourself? Are you turning pro on me?

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Pol - Thanks. Hardly pro at all! My husband gave me the light box for my birthday last year. It's cool because it collapses into a portfolio for easy storage. When I remember to set it up I do think it gives me better pictures, but I'm afraid it doesn't make them look really good. I think bad photos are my trademark. I like to say that one of the mottoes of TERP is "The Essential Rhubarb Pie - Home of Bad Photography and Bad Puns!"

Emily said...

I didn't realize you were avoiding gluten. I knew your husband was. I definitely feel ya! I think I'm going to try and eat beter... starting next week. :) I've been having too many cookies.

The meatballs sound great! I love curry.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Em - It's kind of hard to try to get the husband to go gluten-free and not get on board. Otherwise I'd go really crazy cooking multiple meals. I figured it's a great way for me to cut a lot of the junk food from my diet.