This past weekend was the Baronial Investiture in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael here in AEthelmearc, and it was also where Baron Janos Meszaros sat vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Laurel. Sir Ian, who prepared the main spread, was kind enough to ask me if there was anything I’d like to contribute, so I volunteered meatballs — because really, who doesn’t like meatballs? They’re finger food, they’re period, and you can serve them with a variety of sauces or plain! And there happened to be roughly three pounds of venison/pork sausage in my freezer, so I decided to play with the Byzantine Keftedes recipe found over at Gode Cookery.
Aside from the obvious modification of the venison/pork sausage instead of beef or veal, I also swapped out cinnamon for ginger, added a splash of apple cider vinegar, and ditched the deep-frying (with barley) in favor of pan-searing and baking. (I’m also not a fan of writing down how much of what I use, because I tend to favor the medieval method of “until it tastes good,” so this recipe is probably best used as a guide.)
I served these with lingon berries and mustard at the vigil, and they were gone in less than 2 hours. These came out very soft, so I advise being gentle while pan-frying and transporting them.
Venison & Pork Meatballs
Makes: ~95 Meatballs
3lbs ground venison & pork (50/50 blend; pork fat content unknown)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 handful of parsley leaves (ditch the stems!)
6-10 mint leaves
3 Tbsp ginger, minced
2-3 egg yolks
Splash of red wine
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Add chopped onion, garlic, parsley, mint, and ginger to food processor. Process until finely chopped. (I wanted a smooth texture for the meatballs, so I processed these very finely.) Drain excess liquid if necessary. Add mixture to meat, with salt, pepper, egg yolks, wine, and apple cider vinegar. Incorporate by hand. Add breadcrumbs until desired texture is reached. Pan-sear in olive oil and simmer in wine for a few minutes on med-low, then finish in the oven at 325F for about 15 min. (Mine were soft and had a good bit of liquid in them, so I wasn’t too worried about them drying out. Judge your own carefully!)