Apple Pork Meatballs

>> Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When things start to get stressful in life I find that I always turn to food, not in a bad way, but in a healing and comforting way. Cooking has always been a way for me to relieve stress and let my mind wander for a couple hours before having to return back to reality. I enjoy taking ingredients that I know and inventing new uses for them, especially turning savoury to sweet and vice versa.

Seeing as it was apple month I figured what better way to let my imagination soar and play around with a couple ideas I had been throwing around up there. Apples are great for both savoury and sweet dishes ranging from small one bite appetizers to decadent desserts. This time around, I decided to attempt a meatball made with pork and apples, which is a natural marriage. They just seem to enhance the flavours of one another, the perfect foundation to showcase a savoury sweet dish.

The apples in this recipe provide not only the sweetness, but also helps to keep the meatballs moist and tender. By adding a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg that can be found in a typical apple dessert, it really plays on those particular notes. However, not to take it too far in to dessert territory, there’s also a balance of flavours with yogurt and sage giving the recipe an almost Mediterranean flare. I could almost envision wrapping them up in a pita along with tzatziki and hummus.

I used gala apples for this recipe, but if you want more acid in the dish, granny smith’s would be an interesting choice as well. I would also be tempted to try other sweeter apples such as ambrosia to contrast the difference between each.

Nutritional Tidbit: There are so many different varieties of apples, but they all provide similar benefits. Apples are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are required in our diets to help lower heart disease, cholesterol and aid in digestion. Also because it’s natural, the sugars in apples (and other fruits) don’t cause your body’s insulin levels to spike. Maybe eating an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it definitely helped me unwind when I was pulling all the ingredients together, especially when I had to use some elbow grease to combine everything. What better way than to take your mind off of things, plus the eating part helps too!

1 lb lean ground pork
1 medium gala apple, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I prefer more garlic)
1/3 cup plain or greek yogurt
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper


Preheat the oven to 375ÂșC

Place a medium skillet over medium heat, add in a bit of canola or olive oil. Stir in the onions and garlic. Cook for 5 mins or until they start to become translucent.

Add in the sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper. It’s ok if it’s a bit salty at this point because it will need to be added to the pork. Remove from stove and let cool.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, break apart the ground pork, mix in the chopped apple, greek yogurt, dijon mustard until combined.

Stir in the onion mixture and panko bread crumbs to the mixing bowl. Don’t over mix or else the meatballs will become tough.

At this point I like to heat up a bit of the pork in the microwave just to do a quick taste test. Add more salt and pepper if required.

Portion out the mixture in to roughly 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between each ball to ensure evening cooking in the oven.

Once ready, place the baking sheet in the oven and let cook for roughly 20-25 mins. Cooking time will depend on the size of the meatballs.

Should make around 2 dozen meatballs (depending on size). Delicious served with a bit of tzaziki!



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