Meatballs with Red Curry Peanut Sauce on Jasmine Rice

Temps des Fêtes 2005
200506040.jpg
food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

The preparation of this untraditional casserole involves a lot of steps, but the results are definitely worth it. Chilling each element before assembling the dish is the most food-safe method and keeps the flavours fresher tasting. A sprinkling of herbs and a squeeze of lime when serving are nice accents to the spiciness. Serve stir-fried broccoli and sweet red peppers on the side.

Meatballs
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) Thai red curry paste
2 lb (1 kg) lean ground pork or beef

Red Curry Peanut Sauce
Two 400 mL cans coconut milk, divided
¾ cup (175 mL) salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
¼ cup (50 mL) packed brown sugar
1½ tbsp (22 mL) Thai red curry paste
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lime zest
3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice

Rice
2 cups (500 mL) jasmine rice, rinsed
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh mint

Garnish
¼ cup (50 mL) flaked sweetened coconut
Chopped fresh basil and mint
Lime wedges

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF (230ºC).

2. For the meatball, in a large bowl, using a fork, combine eggs, bread crumbs, basil, lime juice and curry paste. Blend in ground pork. Form into about forty 1½-inch (4-cm) balls and place on greased foil-lined rimmed baking sheets, at least 1-inch (2.5-cm) apart. Bake for about 15 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Let cool slightly. Refrigerate until cold.

3. For the sauce, in a saucepan, combine 2½ cups (625 mL) coconut milk, peanuts, sugar and curry paste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool. Stir in lime zest and juice and refrigerate until cold.

4. For the rice, combine remaining coconut milk, rice, salt and 3 cups (750 mL) water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and spread out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until cold.

5. To assemble, using a fork, gently stir basil and mint into rice. Pile rice in the middle of a shallow 12-cup (3-L) casserole dish, ensuring rice does not extend above rim of dish. Combine meatballs and sauce until coated. Spoon around edge of dish. Cover top of dish with plastic wrap and wrap entire dish in heavy-duty foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Casserole can be thawed in refrigerator for about 48 hours or reheated from frozen.

6. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and cover dish with foil. If thawed, bake in 375ºF (190ºC) oven for about 45 minutes or until rice and meatballs are hot and sauce is bubbling. If frozen, bake in 375ºF (190ºC) oven for about 75 minutes or until rice and meatballs are hot and sauce is bubbling.

7. Serve sprinkled with coconut, fresh basil and mint and garnish with lime wedges.

Serves 8

What to Serve