Israeli Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Photo by Bruce Barone.
I have been cooking variations of this recipe for years–Israeli Sweet and Sour Meatballs. The recipe is from a cookbook I have had for a long time, as long as I can remember, certainly as long as when this article was written about my cooking and that is a long time! The book is called The New York Times International Cook Book, by Craig Claiborne (drawing by James J. Spanfeller–this before some cookbooks started to have more photographs than recipes; this I will save for another discussion: my Robuchon cookbook, a gift from my son, has not one photograph in it.). Claiborne was the food critic at the Times and I think I bought a few other books at the same time, probably through The Book-of-the-Month Club, of which I was a long-time member; I loved getting those boxes of books delivered to my home–and National Geographic, Art in America and Realities. The other cookbooks that arrived in this box were probably The New York Times Cookbook, Fannie Farmer, Joy of Cooking and James Beard (hardcover).

The dish is quite simple to make and very tasty. I don’t really follow the recipe in the book anymore as it calls for beef and veal and we usually only buy ground turkey these days. My trick is to buy a pound of the ground turkey and make turkey burgers with the whole pound (I don’t really follow a recipe for these either; I might add diced red pepper and jalapeno pepper and red onion and Worcestershire  Sauce and a good dash of Hungarian Paprika and Parmesan cheese though). I then take a third of this and make two burgers and put the rest in a container and put that in the fridge for the next day’s dinner, which might be a simple “meatloaf” or as in this photo, Israeli Sweet and Sour Meatballs. What makes it sweet and sour is the sauce: 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups beef stock (which I always have on hand in the freezer). I brown the meatballs and then add the sauce and simmer for fifteen–thirty minutes. This time I also put a raison in the middle of each meatball and a handful of raisons in the broth. I had about six cups of broth on stove; two of which I added to the sauce and I cooked the egg noodles in the remaining broth.