Cloak and Dagger Berbere Meatballs
Author: Pizza Today
Recipe type: Appetizer
- 5-6 medium to large onions both red and yellow
- 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 2 tablespoons Berbere spice (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 5 roasted or sautéed garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut each onion only halfway vertically from end-to-end with a sharp knife. Do not cut across the grain.
- Add the onions and boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While onions are boiling, add all meat ingredients in a large bowl and knead with your hands until incorporated.
- Pinch a small piece off and quickly sauté for taste of spices and salt.
- Adjust as needed.
- When onions are done, bring to another large bowl under cold running water.
- Use scissors to cut off the petal-end of the onion and a sharp knife to cut the tough core, or trunk off just enough to extract onion leaves.
- Gently pass your fingers under each layer of onion and pull apart without tearing too much down the onion pieces.
- Reserve in another bowl or plate.
- Continue to the core where the leaves are too small. (The red onions may have a tough part on top of each larger petal. These will be very red. Cut as needed.)
- Take each petal and place in the palm of your hand vertically.
- Place a dollop of the meat mixture (using the size of the onion as a guide) at the end of the petal closest to you and roll it up. The onion petal may double-up over the meat but that is okay.
- Gently squeeze the onion closed in a tulip-bulb shape and place on a parchment-lined tray.
- Continue until all the petals are filled.
- Drizzle all the petals with extra virgin olive oil and place into the oven for 10 minutes.
- Check the meat to see if each petal is just cooked.
- There should be a lot of red juice on the tray. If these are par-cooked to your liking, pull tray from the oven to cool.
- When cool, place the stuffed onions in the refrigerator until use.
- Place 1 cup of proprietary chunky marinara in a heat-proof oval ramekin dish.
- Sprinkle 4 ounces of Parmigiano Reggiano and 4 ounces of aged mozzarella on the marinara.
- Place 5 of the stuffed (and uncooked) onion petals in the dish topped with 4 more ounces of mozzarella.
- Bake in a 450 F oven for 12 to 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bulbs are cooked through.
- Garnish with a rope of extra virgin olive oil, scallion, cilantro and (optional) a pinch of the berbere spice powder.