Chorizo Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce from ‘Cooking Like a Master Chef’

This week, we’re spotlighting recipes from Cooking Like a Master Chef: 100 Recipes to Make the Everyday Extraordinary by Graham Elliot (Atria Books). Elliot oversees Graham Elliot Bistro in Chicago and stars on Fox’s popular culinary competition shows, MasterChef and MasterChef Junior.

Chorizo Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce (Photograph by Anthony Tahlier)

By Graham Elliot

Serves 6 to 8; makes about 20 meatballs
Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 to 45 minutes

Chorizo is spicy and smoky, two things that mankind has been drawn to for millennia. The tomato sauce isn’t too hot and tends to balance well with the natural sweetness from the tomatoes themselves, but you can add or take away some of that heat, if you prefer. Making meatballs at home is fun and a good way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Meatballs are also a perfect way to use up any leftover trimmings you have from beef, chicken, lamb, or pork. 

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces ground pork shoulder
8 ounces lean ground beef
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, casings removed, sausage meat minced
2 large eggs
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
½ cup dried bread crumbs
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1½ teaspoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette, cayenne pepper, or hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground sumac
Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 (14½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 (14½-ounce) can piquillo peppers, drained
¼ cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon harissa paste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Fresh lemon juice

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

For the meatballs, in a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and softened. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, mix the pork, beef, sausage, eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, wine, parsley, chives, piment d’Espelette, sumac, lemon zest, and a little salt. Add the cooled onion and garlic. Using your hands, work the mixture until the ingredients are well mixed. Season with salt.

Roll the meat between your palms to make 20 small meatballs, about the size of walnuts.

In another large skillet, heat the remaining oil. You only need a film of oil to coat the skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, in a blender, puree the tomatoes, peppers, oil, garlic, and harissa. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by about one-third. Stir in the vinegar and season with lemon juice and salt.

Put the meatballs in the sauce and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Garnish with the feta, parsley, and mint and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Cooking Like a Master Chef: 100 Recipes to Make the Everyday Extraordinary

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