New Silk Road Meatballs

It’s Second Saturday here in Cambridge and we needed some snacks to go along with the art, coffee, and general revelry of downtown.  I’ve done New Silk Road meatballs before (both pork and lamb) but tonight’s take may be my favorite.  It’s definitely a locally inspired take.

2 pounds Black Bottom Farms ground pork

5 oz fresh made ricotta (Nice Farms Creamery)

4 eggs (Stonehouse Farms)

2 tablespoons Night Kitchen New Silk Road

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs (I didn’t get around to making my own but you should).

Mix together all of the ingredients and roll into meatballs – I used approximately 3 tablespoons of the mixture and got between 30 and 40 meatballs.  Place on a tray and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until done turning at least once.

That’s it.
If you haven’t made your own ricotta, you should.  One of the simplest things to do and it makes any farmers cheese you find at the supermarket taste flabby and pale.  Take 1/2 gallon of milk and heat it to ~180F over medium heat.  Stir periodically to keep the bottom from scorching.  You don’t even really need to measure the temperature, the milk will get frothy on the top when it’s above 175F.  Add in 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth.

You can scrape the cheese out of the cloth while it’s still fairly damp or allow it to strain overnight if you want a dryer cheese.  Or, wrap the cheese cloth around it and place a plate with a weight on top for an even dryer cheese.

The liquid in the bottom should be fairly clear – if it still looks milky, put it back into the pan and bring to a boil adding in a little more of the acid choice and then add it to the rest of the cheese in the cloth.

I prefer to salt the cheese after I’ve strained.  The whey (the left over liquid) can be composted or fed to your chickens if you have them.