Spicy Meatballs (Abkhazura)

Spicy Meatballs (Abkhazura)

One of the liveliest preparations from Abkhazia on the Black Sea coast is abkhazura) highly seasoned meatballs served with tkemali sauce. Extra flavor is imparted to the meatballs by wrapping them in lacy caul fat, which also enhances their appearance. But since caul fat is often hard to find here, the meatballs may be shaped without it. This invigorating recipe comes from Marina Mirianashvili. Serves 8.

1 pound pork butt
3/4 pound beef chuck
1 small onion, peeled
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon dried summer savory
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons ground barberry or sumac
1 pound caul fat, if available
Citrus juice (lemon or lime)

Grind together the pork, beef, onion, and garlic. Work the spices in well with your hands. (Stirring with a spoon will not blend the flavors sufficiently.)

Soak the caul fat in warm water with a little citrus juice until it becomespliable, then cut it into 4-inch squares. Place a mound of ground meat mixture on each square and enclose it in the fat to make a plump meatball. Fry the meatballs over low heat until cooked through and nicely browned. Serve with tkemali sauce.

Adapted from: The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia by Darra Goldstein.
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