Eat These Balls! Have a Pork Party in Your Mouth

Looks like Dagobah, tastes like Heaven.
Looks like Dagobah, tastes like Heaven.

Suppose you have too much time on your hands, and tend spend it feeding your inner fat kid instead of doing yoga (or another awful physical activity).

Now Fork in the Road does not want to advocate unhealthy lifestyle choices -- you should totally go jump rope and run up stairs listening to "Eye of the Tiger" instead of relaxing over a steak dinner and glass of Malbec -- but the bloggers here can certainly point you in the right direction if you simply insist on indulging and imbibing.

And the blog's most recent culinary experiment will do just that.

An idea was recently born among the Voice's expert, gourmet culinary team: What happens if you make pork meatballs with pork rinds, pork cracklings, and pork liverwurst blended into the ground meat?

Awesome happens, that's what.

Here's what went down in the Voice's state-of-the-art test kitchen. (OK, so a kitchen in a friend's apartment, because I don't have a usable kitchen right now, but whatever.)

First, I crushed a snack-size bag each of rinds and cracklings by whacking the packs against the wall, later pulverizing the remaining chunks with my firsts. I dumped them into a bowl with the pound of ground pork and the 12-ounce cylinder of liverwurst. I chopped up some green onions -- maybe a bunch -- and threw them onto the meat, along with some salt and pepper. I used my hands to blend everything, because I wanted a true sense of the obscene piggishness developing before my eyes. Then, I rolled the mix into golf-ball-size orbs and set them on a plate.

Meanwhile, I poured about a bottle's worth of cheap red wine into a pot, along with a two sticks of butter (go ahead and use more if you want -- it only makes everything taste better), salt, pepper, and palmfuls each of dried rosemary and thyme. Also added: a julienned red onion and a package of sliced, white mushrooms. (Shallots probably would have worked better, but uptown groceries ain't very fancy.) I brought this to a boil and licked the liverwurst packaging clean (who wouldn't?), but I didn't drink the remaining wine, since it was something awful like Two-Buck Chuck, and I didn't feel ironic enough to do that.

At long last, I dropped my balls in the pot and let that bad boy simmer for quite a while -- around 45 minutes.

The sauce started to reduce and thicken with time, I noticed, so it developed a pleasant, marsala-like vibe, though it felt a little soupier than I wanted.

Now, keep in mind: These aren't exact directions or measurements at all. If you try re-creating this, it will taste more or less like my "recipe." Just check that your klopsks get cooked thoroughly, so that there're not pink on the inside. One more thing: Make sure to finagle with the sauce, so that it develops a more of a gravy-like consistency than mine did.

As for the meatballs themselves, they came out divinely.

The fried fillers appeared to absorb lips and moisture from the ground raw, so the spheres blossomed with soft, salty shards of seasoned fat. The liverwurst contributed a sense of thick, creamy richness, giving the final product a deep, wholesome juiciness.

At first, I was equally worried about undercooking the meatballs and drying them out, but each sampling suggested that they took on more and more of the broth's oils and flavors over time, making them paradisaical porcine puffs.

Also, I saw that they kept their shape and a fluffy, fleshy consistency -- even though I didn't use egg or bread crumbs. You can try them over buttered, flat noodles -- but they taste best when you just hunch over the stove and harpoon them with a fork.

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV.


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