Meatballs generally fall under the category of cold-weather eating but these Braised Goat Meatballs with Artichokes and Fennel from Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough's Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese couldn't be springier.
Spiced with a wonderfully Greek combination of oregano and dill, these meatballs are simmered in a light tomato broth scented with cinnamon and lemon. Chunks of fennel and halved baby artichokes braise alongside the goat meatballs making this balanced dish just as much about the veggies as the protein.
Mixing the ground goat with an egg white and breadcrumbs and briefly pan-frying them pre-braise makes certain that these meatballs stay super moist and even a bit fluffy even after an hour of cooking.
In keeping with the springy Greek flavors of this dish, a side of quickly sautéed young greens such as dandelion or chard flavored with lemon and olive oil would make an ideal accompaniment.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese to give away this week.
Adapted from Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Copyright © 2011. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 1 pound (455 g) ground goat
- 1 large egg white
- 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon salt, halved and used in two places in the recipe
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, halved, same as with the salt
- 1/2 cup (225 g) whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large fennel bulb, any stems and fronds removed, the tough root end sliced off and discarded, then the bulb itself chopped
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 pound (455 g) fresh baby artichokes, trimmed; or one 12-ounce (one 340-g) package whole or quartered frozen baby artichokes (no need to thaw)
- 1 1/3 cups (360 ml) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix the ground meat, egg white, bread crumbs, shallots, oregano, dill, teaspoon of the salt, and teaspoon of the pepper in a medium bowl until uniform—that is, until the spices are spread evenly throughout; the bread crumbs, too; and the egg white is no longer visible as a scummy film. Form this mixture into 12 golf balls.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Meanwhile, spread the flour on a plate. Swirl the oil into the pot, then roll half the balls in the flour. Put them in the pot and brown on all sides. (OK, geometry teachers, balls don’t have sides. But you know what I mean.) About 7 minutes will do it. Transfer them to a plate and repeat with the remaining balls.
Dump the onion, fennel, tomato, and artichokes into the pot. Stir over the heat until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
Pour in the broth; stir in the tomato paste, lemon juice, cinnamon, the remaining teaspoon salt, and the remaining teaspoon pepper. As the mixture begins to simmer, make sure you scrape up any browned bits in the pot. Then tuck the meatballs into the simmering sauce and pour any juices on their plate over everything. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly for 1 hour.