Skillet Meatballs with Blackberries
In this one-skillet dish, fresh blackberries collapse into a sweet-tart sauce alongside juicy meatballs studded with crunchy whole spices and thyme. For the meatballs, use ground bison, pork or lamb. The flavorful fat fortifies the pan sauce. As for accompaniments, creamy Greek yogurt or labneh is the ideal backdrop for this sweet-and-savory combination, but grains, cauliflower rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, warmed pita, wilted greens, roasted mushrooms or chickpeas would be good, too.
- 12 ounces blackberries halved if large (about 2 ½ cups) or blackberry jam
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar any type
- 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt such as Diamond Crystal and black pepper
- 1 pound ground bison beef, lamb or pork
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon coriander fennel or caraway seeds, lightly crushed, plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or dried mint plus more for serving
- Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and set the oven to broil.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the ground meat, panko, egg, seeds, thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Roll into 12 meatballs (about 2½ tablespoons each) and nestle them among the blackberries in the skillet. (The blackberries may not be in a single layer and that’s OK.) Broil until the blackberries are soft and the meatballs are golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes, turning them 1/2 way through.
- Add the remaining blackberries to the skillet and mash some of the blackberries with a fork or spoon to release their juices. If the sauce seems more watery than juicy, simmer on the stovetop over medium-high to thicken (no need to remove the meatballs). Serve the meatballs garnished with more seeds, thyme leaves and black pepper. Be sure to taste the sauce as ours needed more sugar to make it taste really good.
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