If you’re looking for a comfort meal centered around beef, here is just the entrée for you. This recipe incorporates vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, and protein all into one dish. The meatballs simmer in a tomato and milk sauce for an hour; making them juicy, flavorful, and hard to resist.
Jalapeño Rice Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Makes 18-20 medium-sized meatballs
1 lbs. ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked rice
½ cup onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons green peppers, diced
4 tablespoons green onion, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste
For the sauce, combine the tomatoes, milk, two garlic cloves, salt to taste, and the sugar into a saucepan on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of the jalapeño if desired, adjust according to your desired heat level. Allow it to cook down while preparing the meatballs, stir occasionally. Add more milk or water if it becomes too thick.
In a large bowl, add the beef, rice, green peppers, jalapeño, green onions, remaining garlic cloves, and salt to taste. Mix it all together and shape into meatballs.
Over medium heat, brown the meatballs in a large skillet. Drain the fat, then add the tomato sauce to the skillet. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
Notes: If you’re worried about the spice level, you can omit the jalapeño and add another vegetable if you wish. The spice level in this dish came out just right for me – it wasn’t too spicy, but I could still taste the jalapeño. If you want more veggies or herbs in your meatballs, add them in. This dish is rather forgiving, so feel free to be creative with it. The sauce cooks down quite a bit, so if you prefer more sauce I would suggest adding more tomatoes and milk.
Produce tip: If you haven’t been able to find local garlic yet, a farmer sells it at The Marketplace at Armstrong Park (901 N. Rampart St.) on Thursdays from 3-7 pm.