recipe of the week: meatballs and green peas

This is one of Scott’s favorites. He’s been hinting for days that he would like me to make this dish. It’s another one that I learned from my Aunt Renee. It’s Syrian, and I’ve been making it from memory ever since she explained the recipe while demonstrating it at her apartment in Washington D.C. — and I’ve never written it down, nor tried to figure out exact quantities. She actually tasted the raw egg-and-meat mixture to judge the spicing as she made it, which is not really recommended by the health department these days, and certainly contraindicated in my current condition.

So please enjoy my vague guess at how to tell you to make it, below.

Syrian Meatballs with Green Peas

In a large bowl, mix together 1 lb. ground beef (or buffalo) with one large egg. Shake a generous amount of matzo meal (about 1/4 or 1/3 cup?) over the whole thing and a generous amount of allspice over that (about 2 Tbsp?), and a small amount of salt (1/2 tsp?). Mix to incorporate ingredients. Form into small meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter. Should make 20-30 meatballs.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan. Brown the meatballs on all sides — this may have to be done in two batches. Once meatballs are browned, return all to the pan and add one package (10 or 12 oz) of frozen peas. Sprinkle more allspice on top (1 tsp?). Add a dash of water and a dash of salt. Cover and simmer until peas are warmed through and meatballs are cooked through (about 5-10 minutes).

Serve over steamed rice, with salad. I did a tomato-cucumber-feta number here. (You might also recognize the pink pickles.)


6 comments for “recipe of the week: meatballs and green peas

  1. August 9, 2007 at 12:14 am

    You’ve fed me this dish. It is really good and I ought to make it for my crew; hubbie would love it.

    Thanks for posting the recipe…kisses. PS we’re driving home tomorrow (Thursday)

  2. August 11, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Black eyed peas can be substituted for green peas. That is how Grandma Esther taught it to me. Either way it is yummy!

  3. August 11, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    blackeyed peas seem a little more authentic… I will look up the recipe in Claudia Roden, just in case she has got it. I love black-eyed peas. But hubby is going low-carb again so I will probably make it with green peas anyway. (Will he eat those?)

    My auntie made meatballs once with spinach. If hubbie won’t eat peas, I’ll make this with spinach. *Sigh*.

    Thanks for the tip, Nana!

  4. August 12, 2007 at 9:06 am

    reconsidering my use of the term “authentic” – what is authentic, anyway? Recipes evolve over time and what seems authentic to me was a newfangled invention to my great-grandmother, not truly “authentic.”

    I looked up peas in Claudia Roden’s Book of Jewish Food – there’s a special way to cook green peas that is called “Jewish Peas” in Italian. It seems that the Italians eat green peas. OK, I call that “authentic.”

    re: meatballs, well, Roden features a meatball recipe with spinach and chickpeas. It’s similar to yours; however at the end you fry garlic and ground coriander in some oil and stir that into the meatballs-chickpeas-spinach mixture.

    I can just imagine that the blackeyed pea variation Nana reports is one of the many iterations of meatballs with veg. A creative home cook from our part of the world, faced with a big city American supermarket of the 1950s, would simply substitute frozen green peas for chickpeas or whatever.

  5. August 12, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Ooooh! Garlic, and coriander fried in oil — and spinach? And meatballs??? Sign me up. I’d maybe throw in a little cumin too, per the sauteed greens recipe I love in Ms. Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone book (which you gave me!).

  6. Kathy
    October 28, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Hey there! Just wanted to let you know I have officially visited your blog site and it’s great. I’d been reading your postings on and didn’t know about this one until today.

    This recipe sounds delicious! I need to try it.

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