As we mentioned earlier this week , offal is an acquired taste for many people, and if you haven’t acquired it yet there’s nothing wrong with using a little culinary magic to slip an organ or two by your taste buds unnoticed. The trick to sneaking offal into a dish is using it in moderation, adding bold flavors to mask any unpleasantness, and combining it with other mainstream meats. On Tuesday we listed several types of dishes that make this possible – stew, chili, and meatza  to name a few – and today we’d like to bring your attention to one more meal that lends itself to sneaking in a little offal: the humble meatball.
The meatball, a well-loved edible orb of blended meat spiked with bold seasonings, is the perfect secret delivery system for offal. Combine a little pureed liver (or heart, or tongue) with ground pork and beef, add some seasonings and fresh herbs and you’ve got yourself a tasty morsel packed with all the health benefits of offal and none of the offal flavor. Smother the meatballs in creamy, buttery curry sauce flavored with fresh tomatoes, garlic and ginger, top the whole dish with fresh mint and suddenly you’ll find yourself craving offal instead of avoiding it. Or rather, you’ll find yourself craving meatballs that just happen to have offal in them.
Ground pork and beef dominate, so the addition of just 1/2 pound of offal (we used liver, but you can use whatever you like) adds richness, but no noticeable flavor. This recipe is just a starting point – over time, adjust the ratio of beef, pork and offal to your comfort level. You might find that you can add more offal than this recipe calls for without even noticing it in the meatballs. If you do add more offal you can up the seasonings a little too; a pinch more curry powder, another handful of parsley, maybe even some red pepper flakes.
This is a dish that tastes even better the next day, so we’ve made the serving large enough to supply leftovers. Maybe some of you find it hard to believe you’d happily eat offal twice in one week, but we’re willing to bet these Curry Meatballs (with a little offal) in Creamy Tomato-Coconut Sauce are just the thing to change your mind.
Makes 24 Meatballs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 4 cardamom pods, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 8 Romas)
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- salt to taste
- 1/2 pound of liver (or other type of offal)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground meat (try a combination of beef or bison and pork)
- 1 egg
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1-2 teaspoons salt
- large handful fresh parsley
- small handful fresh mint leaves
Melt butter in a deep saucepan. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Saute a few minutes until the onion is just beginning to soften then add spices.
Add tomatoes and simmer on medium-high for five minutes.
Add coconut milk and carrots and simmer on medium, stirring occasionally, while you make the meatballs.
In a food processor combine all the meatball ingredients until well blended. Using your hands make 24 meatballs – the meat will be a bit wet and gooey, so don’t worry about forming it into perfectly shaped balls.
In a hot skillet over medium-high heat, brown meatballs for three minutes on each side (add a little oil to the pan if necessary).
Pour the coconut sauce over the meatballs and continue to simmer at least 15 minutes more, or until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through.
Serve over grated, steamed cauliflower and garnish with fresh mint.