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Asian-Style Pork and Goat Meatballs

O hai.

Well, we’re back from our combined birthday/holiday adventures and a good time was had by all.  Beloved took me to Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro for my birthday, and I’m afraid G. Michael’s Bistro has lost us, perhaps for good.  Afterwards, we drove to Cincinnati to visit with Jolly and The G Man, which is always fun.

One of the more exciting things that happened over the holiday weekend (at least for us) was the acquisition of our goat, Pete.  You don’t get a lot of meat from a goat – our box had about 30 pounds of different cuts (including 2 frenched racks) – which, after paying for the goat and processing, cost us about $6.75 a pound all told.  A bit high, perhaps, for the ground and stew meat, but not bad at all for the frenched racks, chops and shanks.  Besides – it’s goat; not exactly something you can just pick up at the grocery store.

While goat is butchered very much like lamb, it does not taste like it – lamb has a rather strong, often a bit gamey, flavor.  Goat, however, has a pretty mild flavor, more like beef or a good venison.  Because there’s not a lot of Pete in the freezer and we may have to wait until late next fall to purchase another goat, I mixed the pound of ground goat with a pound of ground pork (if you don’t eat pork and can get the goat, go ahead and use two pounds of goat or mix it with a pound of ground venison or ground turkey) for this dish.  Both meats work really well with Asian flavors and this dish came out quite well.

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients; the recipe comes together quickly and easily.  And be prepared for more goat recipes – I’ve got 29 more pounds out there, and hopefully it will all come out better than the poor duck I overcooked on Christmas Eve (although the pork belly I made as an appetizer was delicious).

Asian-Style Pork and Goat Meatballs

Asian-Style Pork and Goat Meatballs

serves 6

1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground goat
1 tablespoon lard or butter
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Sauce
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons lard or butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/4 cup tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt the lard or butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Using your hands, gently mix the ground pork, ground goat, onion/garlic mixture, tamari, pepper, red pepper flakes, ginger and sesame oil in a large bowl until well-blended. Form into 2-ounce meatballs and place on a shallow, foil-lined baking dish; bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or just until cooked through. Place the meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

While the meatballs are baking, melt the lard or butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the chicken stock, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, ginger, sesame oil, honey, and tamari and simmer for 10 minutes.

Whisk the tapioca flour into the water and add to the sauce mixture in the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat and add the meatballs to the sauce; continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the meatballs are coated with the sauce and heated through. Serve over steamed rice, riced cauliflower or stir-fried baby bok choy.

Nutrition (per serving): 431 calories, 26.3g total fat, 106mg cholesterol, 1066.7mg sodium, 675.7mg potassium, 15.1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 8.1g sugar, 32g protein.

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