Skillet Meatballs With Juicy 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 pork or lamb as their plentiful, 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.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 12ounces blackberries, halved if large (about 2 ½ cups)
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar (any type)
- 1tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- 1pound ground lamb or pork
- ⅓cup panko bread crumbs
- 1large egg
- 1teaspoon coriander, fennel or caraway seeds, lightly crushed, plus more for serving
- ½teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or dried mint, plus more for serving
Step 1Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and set the oven to broil.
Step 2Set a handful of the blackberries aside for Step 4. In a large (12-inch) cast-iron or other broiler-proof skillet, stir together the remaining blackberries with the sugar, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Step 3In 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 2 1/2 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, 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 4Add 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.