Pork Meatballs + Lemon Tahini Dressing

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I often joke that the real title for this blog should have been, The Lazy Chef. I love eating well, but I also love having food (magically) waiting on the table for me with minimal effort- particularly after a long day at the office. Because of the simplicity of the recipe, these rosemary- and thyme-scented pork meatballs are the product of both my laziness and the desire for a little something lighter during this pause between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanks to the egg and whole fat yogurt, these are deliciously juicy. I served them on a bed of simple fresh arugula with a drizzle of lemon-tahini dressing and a dusting of fresh mint.

The tahini sauce, I keep in the fridge and pour over roast vegetables, meat, or salads throughout the week. It gives the meatballs a spicy Middle Eastern flavor, but skipping the tahini and simply squeezing a fresh lemon over the pork and arugula would be an equally tasty shortcut option.

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Pork Meatballs with Thyme + Rosemary

1 pound ground organic pork

1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

salt + pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

drizzle of olive oil

2 tablespoons/shmear of butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Gently sauté the diced yellow onion until translucent. Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix pork, yogurt, breadcrumbs and egg together until combined. Let stand five minutes.
  4. Add cooled onion, fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  5. Add butter to a cast iron pan and place in the oven until butter is melted and coats the bottom of the pan. Tip: I used the same pan used to sauté the onion, which left a nice layer of caramelized bits on the bottom. 
  6. Form into golfball-size bites and arrange in pan with roughly one inch between.
  7. Put in oven for roughly twenty (20) minutes, or until the inside temps at 155°F. Alternately, you may cook on the stovetop. This will result in less uniform meatballs, but gives it a buttery flavor.

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Lemon-Tahini Dressing

1 cup tahini*

juice from 1-2 lemons

1 head garlic

salt + pepper

pinch raw sugar

water, as needed

  1. Mix the tahini and the juice from one lemon in a bowl. This will form a very thick, almost chalky paste. Drizzle a bit of water, one tablespoon at a time, into the bowl until the mixture loosens and turns creamy.
  2. Using a microplane zester (or regular fine cheese grater), grate one clove of garlic at a time into the bowl until you reach the desired level of spice.
  3. Add salt, pepper, sugar, water, and additional lemon juice as needed. Taste as you go and stop when it tastes good. I prefer a nearly 1:1 ratio of tahini to lemon, but this might be too strong for some. I also added nearly a full cup of water, because I wanted a thinner dressing for salads. You can add less water for a thicker “dip”-style dressing.
  4. Store in a jar or tub in the refrigerator for up to one week. If the dressing thickens or separates, add more water and shake vigorously before using.

*Hint: Our local natural foods store sells organic tahini in bulk for a fraction of the price of the canned tahini in the stores. It is always worth checking to see if sold in bulk!

 

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