Okay, here we are; the first 5 Star Makeover event of the year! As you can see from the images above, this month’s challenge is meatballs.
I have to say, I am a lover of all meatballs, from all over the world. Whether they are served Italian style atop spaghetti with red sauce, lamb meatballs with Mediterranean spices, Morrocan, Swedish, or Thai (like the ones I made here).
Among my favorites are the pescetarian versions made from fish and shellfish. Even vegetarian meatballs are okay with me too; especially if we count arancini in the meatball category.
There so many directions to go with this challenge. It really left the gates wide open for creativity.
I decided to go with an appetizer presentation, and thought it would be nice to make bison star of the ball.
Bison is much lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef. Grass-fed, bison is rich in vitamins, minerals, and flavor! January resolutions are well underway, and if you are looking for new ways to celebrate healthier eating, swapping out some bison in place of beef in your favorite recipes is one small change that may help you along the way.
So here we go: Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish, and Spicy Aji Amarillo Sauce.
I used Panko bread crumbs in the meatball mix to keep them light in texture, then baked them off in the oven.
I decided to go with bold , colorful flavors, like pickled red onions, and avocado relish in lieu of heavier ingredients, keeping the healthier look at meatballs in mind. To finish the dish, I made a spicy sauce with Aji Amarillo paste (look for in latino markets or online) which added some nice heat to my Greek yogurt sauce.
We really enjoyed these spicy little bites, and I hope you will too!
Don’t forget to check with 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks! on Friday for the roundup of recipes from our cooking group. I have seen a sneak peak at what they have been working on, and I know we are in for a treat!
Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish, and S
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 pound ground bison
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile (seeded)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pickled Red Onions (recipe follows)
Avocado Relish(recipe follows)
Aji Amarillo Sauce (recipe follows)
Minced habanero pepper
Finely chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place Panko bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Add milk, toss to combine, and allow mixture to soften for a few minutes. Add bison and remaining ingredients. Mix together using your hands, to combine ingredients.
Shape bison mixture into 11/2-inch balls and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake 12-14 minutes, or until fully cooked.
Place a pinch of pickled red onions in the bottom of tasting spoon (or plate). Place meatball atop pickled onions, followed by about 1 teaspoon of relish. Drizzle meatball with Aji Amarillo Sauce, and garnish with minced habanero pepper and cilantro
Makes 12 meatballs
Pickled Red Onions
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian red pepper flakes
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings
In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling.Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.Remove from heat and let cool completely.Transfer the onions and the liquid into a jar then refrigerate until ready to use.
1/2 English cucumber, quartered, seeds removed
1 small avocado, pitted, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice from half of a lime
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon honey
Generous pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl, tossing well to blend flavors.
Aji Amarillo Sauce
6 ounces Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 1/2 teaspoons aji amarillo paste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.