Monday, February 10, 2014

"Waiter...there's too much pepper in my paprikash."

This is how dumb and susceptible I am. My friend, Heather, posted a link on Facebook recently from Cooking Light. It was an article about spending Sunday preparing a week's worth of healthy meals. The photo accompanying the article looked delicious, so clicked through to the recipe to see what it was. I guess I must have skimmed the text, as I thought it just said Pork Paprikash, and the picture looked like it involved meatballs in a paprikash sauce over egg noodles. Of course, I have used pork in combination with beef for meatballs, but never a totally pork meatball. I was intrigued and thought I'd give it a try.

But when I got home tonight and read the recipe more carefully, I realized that it called for chunks of pork tenderloin. First of all, I wasn't going back to the store for a tenderloin, and secondly, I wanted pork meatballs! So, as is my way, I made up my own recipe and made use of my slow cooker to do it. And it turned out AWESOME! I am definitely making this dish again and again.

Crock Pot Pork Meatballs Paprikash 

1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon butter 
1 large onion, finely diced 
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped 
2 cloves garlic 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 teaspoon ground celery 
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
pinch of red pepper flakes 
1 cup white wine, divided 
2 lbs. ground pork 
1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs 
1/4 cup half and half 
1 egg 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

1 6 oz.can tomato paste 
2 tablespoons flour 
2 cups chicken or beef stock 
1 tablespoon sweet paprika 
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
1 teaspoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
1 cup sour cream 

wide egg noodles (or egg pappardelle)

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onion and mushrooms until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, ground celery, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and half a cup of the white wine. Reduce for a few minutes until the wine is mostly absorbed. Combine this veggie mixture with the ground pork, bread crumbs, half and half, egg, and parsley. Mix with your hands until just combined--don't overwork. Form into balls (I used a cookie scoop and got about 35 meatballs) and brown them on all sides in the skillet. Add the meatballs to a crock pot set on low.

In the same skillet, combine the tomato paste and flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the chicken or beef stock, whisking until smooth. Add the sweet paprika, red wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, and salt, and cook for a few minutes until thickened. With a rubber spatula, scrape the sauce into the crock pot and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for four hours or high for two, then stir in the sour cream. Serve over wide eggs noodles or egg pappardelle. Garnish with a little more chopped fresh parsley.

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