You may have noticed us tweeting about The Meatball Shop a lot lately. Despite the fact that we’re supposed to have our fingers on the pulse of Brooklyn, we haven’t made it over to The Meatball Shop since it opened on Bedford Avenue last summer, despite the fact that BB contributor Lauren Gitlin wrote about these guys a few months back.
Maybe it’s meat overload, maybe it’s new restaurant fatigue, or maybe it’s just Bedford Avenue fatigue, but we’ve been ignoring friends’ recommendations about this place for months now. Our mistake. After dining there this week we’re sort of addicted to their mix and match, make-your-own-dish menu (and the fact that you use a marker to write on it to order), cocktails, and oh, their delicious balls.
So, we scored a copy of The Meatball Shop Cookbook to give away to a reader. Just tweet “I <3 balls” @BrooklynBased to enter. Winner will be announced on Friday at noon. You can also customize with your favorite type of balls, like, I <3 Swedish meatballs, or I <3 veggie balls. Speaking of which, here’s the recipe for The Meatball Shop’s amazingly awesome Veggie Balls.
Makes about 2 dozen
2 cups lentils
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
*Combine the lentils an 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low an dsimmer until the lentils are soft, but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and cool.
*Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.
*Add the eggs, parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and walnuts to the cooled vegetable mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.
*Preheat the over to 400 degrees F.
*Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
*Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs, make sure the pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking pan, allowing 1/4-inch of space between the balls and place them in even rows to form a grid.
*Roast for 30 minutes, or until the balls are firm and cooked through.
*Allow the balls to cook for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.