‘Kosher Style’ cookbook has modern update for meatballs

Chris Ross
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Toronto-based food writer Amy Rosen has a new cookbook, “Kosher Style,” that aims to bring the recipes of her Jewish culture into the 21st century.

She says “kosher style” is how many Jews eat today. “For many, being Jewish tends to be more about culture than kashrut (the practice of keeping kosher), and it can be confusing at the best of times,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “In this book are all the recipes you need for successful shellfish- and pork-free home entertaining, be it for a Jewish holiday or a workaday dinner.”

She credits many of the recipes to her grandmothers, her mom and other family and friends. This meatball recipe was a favorite of her mother, who used grape jelly and Heinz chili sauce as the main ingredients (along with ground beef). Rosen’s update substitutes fresh tomatoes and pineapple as well as honey and red wine vinegar, but it includes ketchup as “a tip of the hat to the 1980s.”

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Serves: 12

4 pounds lean ground beef

3 eggs

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra to taste

1 teaspoon pepper, plus extra to taste

6 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 onions, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Mashed potatoes or rice, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well, then roll into 1-inch bite-size meatballs.

Place the prepped tomatoes, onions and carrots in a food processor and chop until smooth, then add the pineapple and pulse so that it’s still a bit chunky.

Transfer the mixture to a very large pot and add the oil, ginger, honey, ketchup and vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste, then bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, add meatballs and cook, partially covered, for 2 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

Note: Depending on the sweetness of your vegetables and pineapple, you may want to adjust with more ketchup, vinegar, salt, etc. before serving, in order to hit that perfect balance.

Excerpted with permission from “Kosher Style: Over 100 Jewish Recipes for the Modern Cook” by Amy Rosen. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.