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California Kurobuta Bloody Mary Meatballs


If ever there was a cocktail that was no-fail, the Bloody Mary - and all its variations - would be it, for me. I don't think I've ever had a bad Bloody Mary; I mean, I've had some that are phenomenal and, obviously some are better than others. But it's pretty tough to screw up spiked spicy tomato juice, right?


So when I saw a listing for a Bloody Mary event later in the year, I decided to see how else I could use those flavors that I love in something other than a drink. Don't get me wrong, I will use this event as an excuse to try my hand at making a Bloody Geisha (swapping in sake for vodka), a Brown Mary (whiskey instead of vodka), a Green Mary (using tomatillo juice instead of tomato), and so much more!


But I started with a meatball variation because we had gone to a party and two of mine didn't get to try any of the meatballs I brought. I had some ground pork from my friends at California Kurobuta Pork. You can read the article about Jack Kimmich in the Winter 2016 issue of Edible Monterey BayHome on the Range by Rosie Parker. Jack's Bacon Bus parks in a local parking lot on the third Monday of every month. And I try to head over there whenever I can.

The Kimmich's Berkshires live in pastures and wooded areas and enjoy with unlimited access to pasture plants, cattails, dirt, bugs, grubs, and roots. They supplement the pigs' diet with seasonal fruits, nuts, and vegetables from neighboring farms and local grain processors. I always smile at the photo on display in the bus of the pigs eating local apricots during the summer.

Ingredients serves 4 to 6

  • 1½ lb ground pork (I used California Kurobuta pork)
  • ½ C almond meal (you can use breadcrumb if you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T prepared horseradish
  • 2 T tomato chutney (you can use tomato paste if you prefer), divided
  • 1 to 2 t minced garlic
  • 2 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t hot sauce (adjust to taste, I used sricracha)
  • 1 t ground smoked paprika
  • 1 t ground sweet paprika
  • ½ t ground coriander
  • 2 C tomato sauce
  • 1/4 C beef broth 
  • 1/4 C vodka (you can use more broth if you want to avoid the alcohol)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure

Place ground pork, almond meal, egg, horseradish, 1 T chutney or tomato paste, garlic Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, both paprikas, and coriander in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to incorporate all of the ingredients together. Set aside.

Place tomato sauce, beef broth, and vodka in a large rimmed pan. Whisk together and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Drop walnut-sized meatballs into the sauce and cook until firm to the touch, approximately 15 minutes. Try not to overcook them.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the meatballs from the sauce. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the sauce by half. It should be thickened to the consistency of ketchup. Remove from heat and add the meatballs back into the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

Toss to coat with the sauce, then turn the meatballs out onto a serving platter. Serve immediately. You can also serve these at room temperature.

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