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Meatballs with Vodka Dill Cream Sauce

Fresh dill again?!? Oh yes. Here are morsels of perfectly seasoned meat surrounded by a deliciously easy pan sauce and accented with fresh dill — so ‘more-ish,’ as the British would say. Oh yes, please! The addition of nutmeg and ground allspice to the meatball mixture yields a faint hint of spice that is a perfect complement to the earthiness of the fresh dill in the flavorful sauce, but be sure to give yourself a little lead-time, as the meatballs need to sit in the fridge for three to four hours before cooking. We think this adds to the beauty of the recipe in that this is the perfect entrée for those days when you need to present dinner fairly quickly but you still want something special. We like to serve the meatballs with wide egg noodles that have been tossed with a little butter, and some salt and pepper.

Meatballs with Vodka Dill Cream Sauce

5 ½ oz. fresh white breadcrumbs (2 cups)
½ cup light cream (half and half)
¾ lb. ground beef
¾ lb. ground pork
1 large egg
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. white or black pepper
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of allspice
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup beef stock
¼ cup light cream (half and half)
3 tbs. freshly chopped dill, plus more for garnish
5 tbs. vodka

Begin by mixing the bread crumbs with the ½ cup of cream and leaving them a few minutes to absorb the liquid.

Then, stir in the ground beef, ground pork, egg, onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice, combining the mixture well. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. (It helps to dip your hands in a little water if they get sticky while forming the meatballs.) Cover and place in the refrigerator for three to four hours.

Heat 1 tbs. of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the meatballs in batches for 4-6 minutes each or until browned all over.  As they are done, set them back on the baking sheet.

When all the meatballs are browned, melt the remaining 1 tbs. of butter in the skillet and whisk in the flour. Gradually add the beef stock and the ¼ cup of cream, scraping up any cooked-on bits. Add the dill and 3 tbs. of the vodka, bring to a boil, whisking until slightly thickened. Return the meatballs to the skillet, along with any juices that may have accumulated and the remaining 2 tbs. of vodka, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Garnish with dill and serve.

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