As I have mentioned a few times, I’m signed up for a CSA through Marin Sun Farms. Each month, I get 4 pounds of a braising or roasting cut and 5 pounds of ground meat. It’s taken me a few months to find a variety of things to do with the ground meat. I can only make so many burgers, meat sauce, and chili. Shepherd’s Pie is now in my regular repertoire and now, I’ve got these.
They are really good and really easy. The ingredients list looks long, but it really isn’t too complicated. I read online that lemongrass can be frozen, which is a trick I haven’t tried yet, but I’m planning on buying a bunch and experimenting so I don’t have to make a special trip to a store that sells it just to make these.
And don’t skip the sugary coating. That’s the best part.
Vietnamese Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from Food and Wine
For the meatballs
1 pound ground meat (I use ground pork, the recipe recommends chicken)
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (I skipped this)
3 small shallots, finely chopped (I used onions)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce, leaves separated
Thinly sliced cucumber, radish, and/or red onion
Sprigs of cilantro and mint
1 small seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
Asian chili sauce, if you want, but I don’t think you need it
Preheat oven to 400 and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix the ground meat with the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, chopped cilantro and mint, cornstarch, salt and pepper, and fish sauce, if you are using it, and mix with your hands.
Spread the sugar on a plate. Form the meat into small 1 1/2 balls, roll in the sugar, and place on the baking sheet. You should have about 16 balls.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes. Serve the meatballs on a platter with the lettuce and other goodies. Particularly delicious with a cool glass of sauvignon blanc.