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Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish & Spicy Aji Amarillo Sauce

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

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

1/2 milk

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)

 

Garnish:

Minced habanero pepper

Finely chopped cilantro

 

For meatballs:

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.

 

Assembly:

 

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.

 

Avocado Relsih

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.

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14 comments to Bison Meatballs with Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Relish & Spicy Aji Amarillo Sauce

  • Hi Debi – these look terrific, and so colorful. We love aji amarillo. I was just this morning looking at a Peruvian recipe to try with it as a central ingredient.
    Great idea to use bison! YAY for the Cooking Club!
    LL
    P.S. I still like your first name choice for them. Ha!

  • Great presentation…and I love the freshness of the pickled onions and the avocado relish.

    I look forward to joining the group next month.

  • I served my meatballs with pickled vegetable too but I went with pickled cucumber and carrots. I never had aji amarillo before and now I’m curious about it. Great choice with Bison!

  • What a cool presentation. I’ve always wanted to so something in spoons, but this is over the top. Still getting mine up.

  • Absolutely gorgeous presentation! Love the canapé spoons, they really represent the fresh, clean flavours of your dish. Can just imagine biting into the juicy meatball and enjoying the crunch from the onions and cucumber.

  • Debi, these look amazing. The avocado relish is right up my alley!

  • I am a HUGE fan of bison – not even because it’s healthier, I just think it tastes fabulous. I love you combination of ingredients here – the colors, the flavors, the presentation – perfection.

  • I have had bison burgers often but never a bison meatball. I know I would love then and the exotic sauce mix is very intriguing. Great pics!

  • Awesome Southwestern twist on meatballs! I love the spicy kick here.

  • Very creative meatballs. They look so tasty. Love the colorful appetizer-size presentation!

  • Laz

    There is much to like here. I am a huge fan of bison. One of the most underrated proteins to work with. The flavors running through the dish are fantastic, as is your presentation. A real attention grabber.

    Pass me a spoon.

    Be well

  • Wow…love the presentation! And such a fantastic array of flavors going on here, beautifully balanced and pulled together!

  • That is one bright and happy plate of meatballs. Who knew they could look so healthy! I never heard of the paste but love the idea of it and the pickled relishes look amazing. Rich meatballs and sparkling bites of those relishes are perfect together.

  • I love what you’ve done and can only imagine that great combination of flavors bursting in my mouth!

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