Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

It's that magical pre-vacation time when the last thing you want to do is go grocery shopping. With no vegetable box this year, our options for dinner are more limited than usual. I found this recipe while looking for something different to do with the ground pork sitting in the freezer. This came together incredibly quickly (after I skipped on marinating the veggies for an hour!) and was remarkably flavourful. I made some changes I'd recommend (reducing the sugar), some I'm on neutral on (using cucumber slices instead of daikon), and some I'd recommend avoiding (using the last of our slices of bread instead of baguette).

One year ago: Baked Green Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Pork Meatball Banh Mi (adapted from epicurious.com, originally Bon Appetit)

Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 cups coarsely grated carrots
2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish)
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
16 large fresh cilantro sprigs

1. Hot Chili Mayo: Stir all ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt.
2. Meatballs: Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
3. Sandwiches: Toss first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour, tossing occasionally (I just had them sit while the meatballs were cooking.)
4. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs. Sauté until brown and cooked through, turning meatballs often and lowering heat if browning too quickly, about 15 minutes.
5. Cut each baguette or baguette piece horizontally in half. Pull out enough bread from each bread half to leave 1/2-inch-thick shell.
6. Spread hot chili mayo over each bread shell. Arrange jalapeños, then cilantro, in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs.
7. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops.

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