Meatballs with savory blueberry compote, also known in Italy as polpette con milistri, is quite a surprise of tastes and textures. Perfectly tender meatballs spiked with proscuitto, cooked in a brown wine sauce, tucked inside a crown of puff pastry or tart shell, topped with a savory blueberry pear and shallot compote, are the perfect appetizer or main course. You can use a store bought puff pastry or make a pie crust and adorn it with poppy seeds. I have also made this atop a homemade poppy seed fettuccini.
I first found this recipe in La Cucina Italiana and I was immediately swept into a foodie fantasy, as I am with so many of their enticing modern, yet authentic Italian selections. I could eat their kind of food every night of the week. If I could only subscribe to one magazine, I would never give La Cucina Italiana up. It’s world class in style, yet approachable, non-intimidating, and the pictures alone are worth the price. It’s a style I lean towards. Simple. Clean. Appetizing. They can make a simple dish of pasta look like the last meal for the queen.
Homemade meatballs cooked in a wine sauce and tucked into a pastry shell with a little fresh fruit compote is not deep fried lasagna. It’s still good food, and if eaten in moderation, great food. But, alas, it’s not part of his plan and I looked at Mr. ST and said, “do you want to start the 24 day challenge tomorrow? I’ve made this amazing and unique meat ball dish and you have to try this.”
He didn’t mind one bit. I’ll give a little warning though. This is so good that you probably do want to make this for company so that there are no left overs. You could be easily tempted to eat it all. It’s the kind of good that makes you want to eat it again for breakfast.
Never would I have thought to pair meatballs with blueberries. It works and has opened up a possibility for all kinds of new dishes. The original recipe calls for a combination of veal and pork. I used lean grass fed ground beef and they ended up very tender and quite tasty. Impossible to sample just one.
As far as how to present them, you might experiment. I used a small tart pan to cut out circles and placed them in muffin tins. I baked them frozen and at the last five minutes stuffed them with meatballs. You could make smaller circles and use one meatball and serve as an “amuse bouche.” You could make larger tarts and fill each with six meatballs and serve as an entree with a fresh green salad. You can use a store bought puff pastry or make your favorite pie crust. I used my standard pie crust recipe and deleted the sugar. After rolling, I sprinkled with poppy seeds. I could have made them look a little better, but next time.
The blueberry pear compote is savory, made with a good amount of shallots, and the fruity notes play well off of the proscuitto in the meatballs.
This is a great party dish that can be made ahead of time. The meatballs can mixed and frozen raw or fry them and freeze them cooked (heating up in oven to cook). The compote can be made a day or two ahead and can be frozen.The tart shells can also be made in advance. Freeze prior to baking.
One way we’ve enjoyed this meatball dish in the past is over a homemade poppy seed fettucini.
Tell me, do you love meatballs, and what is your favorite way to eat them?
- MEATBALL INSTRUCTIONS
- 1 slice white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
- ½ cup low fat milk
- ¼ pound ground pork
- ¾ pound grass fed ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 3½ slices proscuitto, finely chopped
- 2½ tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil for frying
- ⅓ cup white wine
- pastry dough (see below for recipe) Can substitute with store bought puff pastry
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- COMPOTE INGREDIENTS
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium pear, peeled, cored, finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 3 tablespoons dry vermouth (can use white wine vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Make pie dough according to directions found below, or use store bought puff pastry.
- MEATBALL INSTRUCTIONS
- Combine pork, ground beef and one egg.
- Add bread, prosciutto, parsley, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Combine with hands gently. Do not overwork.
- Form into ¾ tablespoon portions and form meatballs. Fry in olive oil for 3 minutes.
- Add ⅓ cup wine. Reduce heat to low, continue to cook 12 more minutes until wine is reduced. Add 2 tablespoons of butter a little at a time until butter is melted.
- PASTRY INSTRUCTIONS
- Roll out pastry dough. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cut circles with a biscuit cutter and put into small tart pans.
- Bake covered with parchment paper and pie weights at 375 for 10 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Bake until golden another 10-12 minutes.
- COMPOTE INSTRUCTION
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium pan. Add shallots, pear and blueberries until cooked through about one minute.
- Add dry vermouth, sugar, cinnamon, dash salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, continue to cook for about 6-8 minutes, and mash to make a compote consistency.
- Arrange each tart shell with meatballs. Pour in wine sauce.
- Top with compote.
- Serve in larger tart shell as an entree. Serve in smaller tart shells as appetizers
Pastry Dough recipe can be found here. Omit sugar.