Since moving to the UK we’ve had several opportunities to travel to Europe (that’s how the Brits describe travel anywhere other than the UK) and use our French. Mr 416expat and I use slightly different strategies in using our rudimentary French. I like to throw stuff out there. It might be a bit messy, but I try and I hope there are points for trying. Mr 416expat also tries, but relies more heavily on a French accent.
Do any of you remember the Swedish Chef? Mr 416expat (of his own admission) speaks French just like the Swedish Chef speaks Swedish… enthusiastically, perhaps unconvincingly, and with a unique accent. In honour of his attempts to improve his French language skills, I bring you, Swedish Meatballs. Ok, not really Swedish meatballs, more like, sweet and sour meatballs, but the thought is there.
Meatballs with pineapple and peppers – adapted from thepioneerwoman.com
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, diced finely
hand full of oatmeal (or bread crumbs if you have them in your country)
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1/4 c all purpose flour
2 peppers (yellow, red, or green)
1 pineapple, peeled and cored, sliced into bite sized pieces
2 cups vegetable or beef broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/3 c sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch (in England it is called corn flour)
salt and pepper
more red pepper flakes
Combine the ground beef, onion, egg, oatmeal (or if you can find/make bread crumbs) in a bowl, mixing with your hands until well combined. Add salt and pepper and a good couple of pinches of red pepper flakes. Mix and form into meatballs. For the first time I used a tbsp measure to try and get smaller meatballs. They were easier to cook! Put the meatballs in the freezer for 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are chilling, prepare the peppers and pineapple. You don’t need the whole pineapple, just roughly 1-2 cups. The rest is lovely for snacking on 🙂
You can also prepare the sauce by mixing together the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and corn starch.
Once the meatballs have chilled, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a few glugs of vegetable oil. Dredge (roll) your meatballs in flour, dust them off and fry in the frying pan, turning until they’re seared brown all over. Don’t cook too many at a time. When they’re seared all over, remove them from the pan and put them on a plate. By cooking the meatballs in batches you’re able to get a better sear on the meat surface. Having too many in the pan results in more steam and less sear.
Drain off any extra oil, and return the pan on to medium high heat. Add the peppers, and cook for one minute. Then add the pineapple and cook for another minute. Add the stock mixture and then the meatballs. Let it all bubble away together for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through. Serve immediately with quinoa or rice with more red pepper flakes if you want it to look pretty and taste spicy!