50/50 Meatballs

The roasted eggplant lends a creaminess that works wonderfully well with a lean beef like longhorn or bison. Feel free to reduce eggplant to ground beef ratio.

By / Photography By Francine Spiering | August 16, 2017

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant (or about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for brushing eggplant
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground Longhorn beef or bison
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (homemade) breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint: any or all)
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon for the eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut eggplant in half, season with salt, brush with olive oil and bake until soft (20–25 minutes). Take out (turn oven off) and mash (I always include the skin).

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions slowly until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic for the last minute.

Mix everything together in a bowl. Do a taste test: Roll a small amount of seasoned meat into a ball, poach and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed. Shape meatballs (in between a golf and tennis ball size).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a baking sheet with cooking oil and arrange meatballs in a single layer. Transfer tray to the oven and bake until brown on all sides, about 18–20 minutes. The meatballs should be hot inside (test by inserting a metal skewer for 10 seconds: If it comes out hot, the meatball is done).

Suggestion: Serve hot with mustard, a mesclun salad and thick slices of crusty bread!

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant (or about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for brushing eggplant
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground Longhorn beef or bison
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (homemade) breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint: any or all)
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon for the eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
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