Agrodolce Meatballs
Adapted from Food & Wine

If, to you, meatballs mean a whole day affair, I have your quick-dinner answer here. These are ready, prep-and-all, in forty-five minutes, and much of the cooking time is hands-off, which means you can start cleaning up your kitchen from dinner prep (less work for you after dinner – bonus)! If you keep a kosher kitchen, swap in turkey or chicken, or even veal in place of pork. Just don’t make it all beef as it won’t taste as delicate. To make things even easier, get yourself a large sauté pan (the largest I have is this 6-quart All-Clad one I link to below) and you will be able to fry all your meatballs in one fell swoop.

1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup untoasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (480 ml) chicken stock
1/4 cup (60 ml)  balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Crusty bread, for serving

1. In a large bowl, combine the the ground beef and pork, eggs, bread crumbs, currants, pine nuts, capers, and mint. Season with salt and pepper and knead, gently, to combine. Roll the mixture into meatballs the size of golfballs and dust with flour.

2. In a large skillet (I like to use my 6-quart All-Clad saute pan for this), heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs in a single layer (they will be snug) and cook over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until browned and nearly cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Tilt the skillet and spoon off as much fat as possible.

3. Add the broth, vinegar, and sugar and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the sauce is reduced by half and the meatballs are fully cooked, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately accompanied by crusty bread for dipping in the sauce.

Makes about 24 meatballs (Serves 4 to 6)

© 2023 Olga Massov