Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2011

Meatballs in wild-mushroom cream sauce with black salsify root vegetable

This  evening I cooked meatballs in cream sauce and black salsify. Black salsify is a rather interesting vegetable known in northern europe since the 17th century. They believed it could cure snake bites (other names black oyster plant, vipers grass). It is also called winter asparagus.

meat balls and black salsify (front)

For meatballs:
500 g ground meat (pork and beef 1:1)
1 onion, diced in small cubes
1 slice of white bread soaked in milk, sqeezed and crumbled
1 good pinch sweet paprika
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mayoram (if there is no myoram available take 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I am not into salt, you may use more)

for cream sauce:
1/2 carrot, cut in very small dices (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 small slice celery, cut in very small dices (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 cup beef broth
80 ml cream
1 laurel leaf
1 teaspoon corn starch or other starch
1 tablespoon mustard (hot mustard made from whole mustard seeds, or use another mustard)
1 cup wild mushrooms (frozen mix of Porcino, Chanterelle, Bay Bolete, Kuehneromyces  lignicola - no english name) big mushrooms cut in chunks

5 large and thick black salsify roots
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon oil or butter
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, cut in slices
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt

potatoes - I used an ancient variety known as Bamberger Hörnchen, small cornets from Bamberg, one of the most delicious potatoe varieties

First glaze the onion dices in a little oil until translucent - just put them in a small bowl with a few drops of oil and cook 1 minute in the microwave.
Kneat meat, onion dices, spices, mayoram, salt, bread crumbs and egg until well combined.
Form small meatballs, sized 3/4 ping pong ball.
Roast meatballs in a non stick pan with only a little oil from all sides until slightly coloured together with the diced carrot and celery. Add beef broth and laurel leaf and let simmer 15 minutes on low temperature covered with a lid.
Meanwhile wash the black salsify roots and peel them in vinegar-flour-water mixture (just add vinegar and flour into a big bowl of water). Use rubber gloves and keep the roots most of the time under the water surface while peeling.  Give peeled roots in another bowl with vinegar-water to rinse them clear. The reason for this:  Black root peel contains a natural rubber and once cut they glue like hell  and peeled they turn brown. Flour and vinegar prevent glueing and oxidation. The roots are allways very dirty because soil is glued to the roots. Once peeled they look like thick white asparagus (white and same size). It is quite some work to prepare black salsify roots but they have a wonderful sweet and nutty flavour.

Cook potatoes in salted water.
Take meatballs and laurel leaf out of the broth. Add cream to broth together with the mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes on medium heat -  sauce should be reduced a bit. Add mustard, stir the starch with a little cold water, add starch to sauce and stir well while boiling until sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning of the sauce and add the meatballs, keep warm until serving.
Cut the salsify roots in long slices and keep them in the vinegar water. Heat a little oil or butter in a non stick pan and stir fry the (strained and pat dry ) slices until done (crunchy but done), add sugar, a little salt and hazelnut slices and caramelize.  (All in all cooking time: about 5 minutes)
Peel potatoes


Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

I'm curious about the ground meat. You seem to use ground pork and beef together often. Is this common in Germany or just your preference?
I'm also interested in the pork-to-beef ratio. In Japan, it is usually considered that a ratio of 7:3 is the best for hamburgers, and supermarkets usually sell pork and beef ground at this ratio.
I did some googling and found that in Kansai (Western Japan), a 5:5 (i.e., 1:1) ratio seems to be more common.

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

Sorry, a mistake. Not a 7:3 but 3:7 ratio for pork and beef.

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

It is the most common ratio called half and half (beef for taste and less fat and pork for juicyness). You may buy single beef mince or fat pork mince too or very lean beef mince (lean beef to be eaten raw).
Pork mince is available in another variety which is already spiced and salted.
You could buy own ratios say 100 g beef and 300 g pork mince or spiced pork mince. Do I buy it that often? It is cheap.

Sissi hat gesagt…

I'm sure once again marjoram added this je-ne-sais-quoi I felt in the potato salad too. And hazelnuts are most unusual ingredient!
My mum always used half pork and half beef for meatballs or patties and in Switzerland they sell often also the same mixture of meats.
Some people say the best is pork+veal+beef (1:1:1), but I am ashamed to say I have never tasted it.