Saturday, February 19, 2011

one pound

pork and lemon meatballs

I know I've mentioned before that when I'm not cooking meatless dishes, I try to stretch our meat to make several meals.  Whenever I buy a pound of ground meat (lamb, beef, buffalo, or pork), I plan to make two recipes with it.  This week the meat of choice was a package of wonderfully fatty ground pork from a local farm that supplies our bacon and the recipes were both knock-outs: pork and lemon meatballs and pork and scallion dumplings.  This is a two-for-one recipe post, outlining how well you can eat if you have just one pound of pork.

pork and scallion dumplings

First, a meatball recipe from a favorite Serious Eats column, Dinner Tonight.  I have two or three meatball recipes that I rotate, but this one stands out.  The pork is mixed with breadcrumbs, herbs, anchovies, Parmesan, and some lemon, then dredged in flour before frying in butter and olive oil to create a nice crispy coating.  Then chicken stock is added with the meatballs, which I thought might have made the meatballs soggy, but it actually had the effect of making the coating into a velvety glaze.  I want to try other meatball recipes with this technique!  The flavor was great too--the Parmesan and anchovy provided nice depth.  The citrus and pork combination reminded me a bit of the delicious Laotian lemongrass pork sausage I had at Lao Laan Xang awhile back.

Pork and Lemon Meatballs
from Serious Eats
serves 2

The recipe here is halved from the original since I wanted the other half pound of pork for dumplings later in the week.  Click the link above for the original recipe.

1/4 c flour 
3/4 c fresh breadcrumbs 
1/2 lb ground pork
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon 
2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
6-8 springs thyme, leaves removed
3 tbsp grated good-quality Parmesan 
5 anchovy fillets, minced (or about a tbsp anchovy paste, if you keep that on hand like I do)
salt and pepper 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 pound cooked couscous or pasta (I made couscous with butter, salt, and chicken stock.  Yummy!)
Sprinkle flour on large baking sheet. Combine breadcrumbs, pork, lemon zest and juice, parsley leaves, thyme, Parmesan, and anchovy filets (or paste) in large bowl. Add good pinch salt and pepper and mix ingredients thoroughly by hand. Shape into 18-20 balls, about heaped tablespoon each, and put on floured baking sheet.
Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts and foam subsides, then roll enough meatballs that will fit comfortably in skillet in light coating of flour. Cook until golden all over, in batches if necessary, 10-12 minutes total. Avoid moving unless necessary to promote caramelization.
Pour off most of fat from skillet and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce for 2-3 minutes. Serve with pasta or couscous and juices from pan.

*  *  *
Tonight we enjoyed the following pork dumplings.  Recently we've tried a couple different methods of cooking dumplings.  I made gyoza which were meant to be fried, then doused with water to steam.  Those fell apart when we added the water.  On New Year's Day, I made shrimp and cilantro shu mai, which were very tasty, but stuck to the basket when I tried to steam them (should have sprayed the basket first!).  This recipe called for the dumplings to be simmered in a pot of water, which has been the most successful technique yet.  The directions say to fish the dumplings with a slotted spoon, but I seem to have lived on my own for 6 years without picking up that kitchen tool.  We tried just dumping the contents of the pan through a strainer, but the force of the water tore some of the dumplings.  I finally just pulled them out with a regular spoon.  Needless to say, I will be purchasing a slotted spoon soon, plus one of those handy little wire skimmers.

In any case, these were very flavorful and pretty easy.  If you're like me, you'll have most of the ingredients on hand and will only have to pick up a few items.  I actually had half a package of dumpling wrappers left over from the New Year's shu mai, so I really only had to pick up scallions.  I love it when I can use up what I already have in the freezer or cabinet!  I served them on a bed of red cabbage for a bit of freshness and crunch.  I could see serving them the same way for a party--they can be frozen in advance and cooked as needed which would be ideal for entertaining.

Pork and Scallion Dumplings
from Epicurious
serves 2 as a main dish (24-30 dumplings)

We had a bit of pork leftover, which made yummy a few meatballs with some panko thrown in.

1/2 lb fatty ground pork
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (I substituted sherry)
1/4 tsp Asian sesame oil
1/2 tsp Vietnamese chile-garlic sauce (preferably Huy Fong brand)
1 1/2 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
1/2 tsp rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro stems
3 tbsp finely chopped scallions, flowering chives, or flat Chinese chives (garlic chives)
24 to 30 round dumpling (gyoza) wrappers

Make the dipping sauce by mixing all the following ingredients and let it sit while you make the dumplings.

1/2 c soy sauce
1/3 c water
1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (or sherry)
1/8 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 (2-inch) dried red chiles, wiped clean
1/8 tsp sugar

Combine all filling ingredients (except cilantro stems, chives, and wrappers) in a large bowl, then stir in cilantro stems and chives. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice to keep chilled while forming dumplings.

Place a slightly rounded teaspoon of filling in center of a wrapper and moisten area around filling with water. Fold in half to form a crescent and press to seal. Moisten one corner and bring corners together, pressing them, to form a tortellini-shaped dumpling. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.

Cook dumplings in a large pot of gently simmering water until pork is just cooked, about 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a platter.


  1. This food looks ummm!.... ummmm ummm!!! um!. You have inspired me to do a cooking video for my Artifact Assignment for Digital Storytelling class. P.S My family does the same. We save the left over food for the following days lunch or dinner.

  2. Glad to hear it! Thanks for reading!