Recently named as one of Time magazine’s Top 100 influential people, Spaniard JoséAndres is chef/owner of the Think Food Group in the United States. With business partner, Rob Wilder, he owns a string of award winning “dining concepts” (or restaurants) in Washington DC, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas. In 2011, José was named Outstanding Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. In his spare time, José, 43, lectures at Harvard’s Science and Cooking Course, is a member of the Board of the US National Archives and is a fundraiser for DC Central Kitchen which provides cooking and hospitality training for the US capital’s homeless.
Here’s his recipe for Meatballs with Apples – a winter pleaser – from his television program, Made in Spain.
Meatballs with Apples (or Albondigas con Manzanas)
For the meatballs
1 slice day-old bread, crusts removed
3 tablespoons whole milk
500g ground beef (coarsely ground)
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
For the sauce
2 teaspoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 ½ cups chicken or beef stock
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Prepare the meatballs:
In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread. Use just enough milk to soften the bread, and let sit for 1 minute.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, the milk-soaked bread, garlic, parsley, and egg. Using a spoon, mix all the ingredients together. Add the salt and continue mixing.
Place the flour on a plate. Form 1-inch balls of the meat mixture (you should end up with 16 meatballs), and roll them in the flour. Shake off any excess flour, and set the meatballs aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. When the oil reaches 350 degrees (measured with a candy thermometer), add the meatballs in small batches. Fry the meatballs until brown all over, about 4 minute. Set aside the meatballs aside on paper towels to drain.
To make the sauce:
In a small sauté pan, toast the pine nuts over a medium-low heat, stirring regularly to ensure they don’t burn, until they turn light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.
Place a large sauté pan over low heat, add the sugar and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir the butter into the sugar, and allow it to melt. Add the apple slices and sauté until they are brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the apples and set them aside. Add the vinegar and cook until reduce by half, about 1 minute. Add the stock, pine nuts and cinnamon stick. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.
Add the meatballs to the sauce in the pan. Bring to the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, moving the pan constantly to ensure that the meatballs cook evenly. The sauce should end up being thick and syrupy. Return the apples to the pan to heat through. Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve immediately.