Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Week 8: Meatballs With a "Secret" (Swiss Chard!)

I don't hide vegetables from my children. I'm not a sneaky chef. But I also don't make pronouncements about dinner that are liable to provoke an "ick" from the kids before before anyone has taken a bite.

I will tell you upfront, dear reader, that the meatballs had Swiss chard in them. Hardly secretive, really; you can see the green, leafy bits in the meat. And since these meatballs are Turkish/Middle Eastern in style, they were cooked in a lemony broth. So, no red sauce for the green bits to hide under.

Furthermore, I left the printout of the recipe on top of the toaster oven for the better part of a week.

So there you have it. Kit, apparently food-deprived after a day of camp, happily gobbled these down without asking what was in them, and I decided against volunteering the information. Which means she ate Swiss chard. And her head did not explode. Do me a favor, though: Don't tell her. She'll stumble across this post eventually, at which point I may never get her to eat these meatballs again. 

Meatballs With Swiss Chard
(Adapted from a recipe on Food Bridge)

1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound)
1 pound ground beef
6 cloves garlic, divided use
1/2 cup grated onion
1 egg
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup vegetable stock or water

Remove chard stems and discard them or save for another dish. Thoroughly wash the chard leaves but do not dry them. Wilt the chard in a large, covered pot over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Drain well. When the chard is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any extra water and chop the leaves finely.

Slice three cloves of garlic and set aside. Finely mince the remaining garlic. In a large bowl, combine the chard, beef, the minced garlic, onion, egg, bread crumbs, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 16 slightly flattened meatballs.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, deep skillet that has a lid, and brown the meatballs in two or more batches, about 2 minutes each side, adding oil as needed. Remove the browned meatballs to a plate; they are not fully cooked at this point.

Add the sliced garlic to the skillet and fry until golden. Return the meatballs to the pan and add the lemon juice. Add in the stock; it should almost cover the top of the meatballs. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the skillet. Simmer the meatballs for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through, turning the meatballs over once about midway through the cooking.

Remove the cover, and let the mixture simmer for a couple of minutes longer if you want to reduce the cooking liquid. Serve over rice or couscous.

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