Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chard-Wrapped Pork Meatballs

pork meatballs

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The other week I tried wrapping pork meatballs in chard leaves, and then poaching in chicken stock. The results were delightful. The meatballs were incredibly moist and the flavor subtle. I tried making the meatballs the same way without wrapping them, and the results were must less interesting and it was easier to dry out the meat.

What I still have not figured out yet, however, is what the best thing is to serve with these. I tried white rice but the meatballs have such a subtle flavor that they want a stronger complement I think... or a sauce to go with. Then I tried making red wild rice with porcini mushrooms but I do not think that was quite the thing either. So I'm going to move away from rice and do some more thinking and experimenting. In the meantime, I wanted to get a record of the recipe up here.

Chard-Wrapped Pork Meatballs

1 lb ground pork shoulder
large bunch of swiss chard leaves
6 cooked chestnuts, finely chopped
4 medium brussel sprouts (or 1/3 cup cabbage), finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
2-3 cups of chicken broth (ideally homemade)
splash of dry vermouth

Bring a large pot of water to boil and preheat oven to 350F while you do the following.

Wash your chard leaves and slice away the middle stems. Set aside. Chop up about 1/3 cup of the chard stems and place in a large bowl with the pork, chopped chestnuts, chopped brussel sprouts, parlsey, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly together with your hands, then shape into 1.5 inch meatballs.

Parboil the chard leaves for 30 seconds in the boiling water, then gently drain. Wrap each meatball in chard leaves (it might take two leaves to full wrap), and place in a pie dish. Then pour in chicken broth until you are about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the meatballs, and add a splash of dry vermouth or white wine. Cook at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour, occasionally basting broth over the tops of the meatballs. When the meatballs feel firm, they should be done.

pork meatballs wrapped
Just before pouring the broth in

Now just to find the perfect complement to these guys. I welcome ideas!

P.S. a marvelous vegetarian recipe is chard-wrapped risotto.

16 comments:

Peter M said...

Giff, these look good even raw! For sauce, you can think cabbage rolls in a tomato or avgolemono sauce.

Danielle said...

I love how you got all those vegetables in there. I have a recipe that rolls the chard around quinoa and wild rice (called boules) for another vegetarian option. I like Peter's ideas for a sauce.
Danielle
So Many Cookbooks

Stacey Snacks said...

oooh, I like Peter's idea of the tomato sauce.
You are always so good with lettuce and cabbage wrapped goodies, one of your many talents (like the risotto wraps).
Happy to finally see this recipe,I was giving up on you.
It looks beautious.

Giff said...

mmmm yes I think both Peter's sauce ideas are good ones.

I had some crazy notion about a chinese black bean sauce, but I'm not versed enough in chinese flavors to know if it would work or be a total disaster :)

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

What a cool idea, wrapping the meatballs in chard. Thanks!

kellypea said...

I love the idea of these. They remind me of a recipe in the Boulud braising book with savoy cabbage wrapped around a mixture of ground meat and veggies. Still wanting to try that one...

Ken Broadhurst said...

Those meatballs wrapped in chard sound and look delicious (wish I could taste them). I think I'd make a light roux and then a sauce with the chicken broth. Think blanquette de veau and that kind of thin cream sauce. And then serve them with rice or pasta. That would be a comforting wintertime dish.

Giff said...

Kelly, you know I really should look at that Boulud recipe, given that I have the book lurking in my kitchen!

Thank for the ideas Ken. Yes, a roux might work, maybe with some egg noodles and a pinch of nutmeg? I'd have to think more on it.

Ricardo said...

I made and will continue to make many different kinds of meat balls ..but these look excellent...saw you on foodbuzz...thx for sharing

Tangled Noodle said...

I love the vibrant green color of the chard - it's so striking and appetizing!

kat said...

Wow, what a cool idea. Sorry the rice didn't work. I think mashed potatoes would be a good side

Sophie said...

Thse look utterly delicious,,, I love everything with swiss chard! They look so gooodddd, even raw! I also love the pictures!!

Zen Chef said...

Very nice recipe. I think tomato sauce is the way to go.

Paula said...

Interesting recipe! I'd like to try it. I don't have any inspirations about sauce, but what about polenta as a side?

Recently I tried a fantastic Diana Kennedy recipe for pork meatballs in a tomato-chipotle sauce, and made some polenta to go with it. It was a great combo!

Giff said...

cool suggestions. I'm thinking you all are on the right path with polenta and a tomato-based sauce

Mommy Gourmet said...

gracious that loks good!