Thai Curry Meatballs with Pear Relish & Black Rice

These Thai curry meatballs have got to be one of my favorite recipes on the blog so far.

Thai curry meatballs

Thai curry meatballs

Happy Thursday everyone! This week is moving way too fast for me, and honestly, it’s been a little hard to keep up. (At least that means it’s almost the weekend, though!)

I was planning on sharing these meatballs in time for Halloween, but that didn’t quite happen. Good thing is that these Thai curry meatballs work just about any time of year, and are especially perfect for November because who doesn’t like cozying up to a big plate of homemade meatballs?

I for sure do. And…the even better part about this recipe is that it makes for perfect leftovers. I had made these on a Wednesday, and heated them up for dinner the next Thursday and Friday.

Thai curry meatballs

Thai curry meatballs

Ok, so let me tell you a little about these meatballs. They came out so juicy (like unbelievably juicy), and it’s all because of the soaked bread.

I grabbed my favorite loaf of ancient grain bread from Whole Foods, diced it up, and soaked it in milk for just about 20 minutes. The addition of the bread to the ground beef makes for a really tender, moist finished product. I think I’ll be adding it to all my meatballs recipes from now on, like these healthy turkey meatballs.

And then, there’s the flavor. As you can tell, this dish is all about Thai flavors. The meatballs have hints of ginger and garlic, but the real flavor comes in the Thai red curry sauce.

Who likes curry by the way? I feel like it’s a hit or miss. But then again, most people I’ve talked to don’t like Indian curry (which is typically what you would think of when it comes to curry). Thai curry, on the other hand, is totally different. And it’s one of my favorite things. Coconut milk, chile peppers, ginger, curry paste, and lime juice…yes, please!

Thai curry meatballs

The sauce is blended until super creamy and spooned right over top the meatballs. It’s a really simple dish to put together. I made some black rice (again, was going for the “spooky” theme of Halloween) and tossed together a really quick pear relish.

All in all, it was pretty simple and so flavorful. I’ll definitely be making this again and again, and I hope you guys do too!

Coming up tomorrow, I’ve got the ultimate cozy fall recipe for you (if you haven’t noticed…”cozy” is kind of my favorite way to cook right now). But, really, it’s going to be a good one. It involves gnocchi and LOTS of cheese. Stay tuned!

Thai Curry Meatballs with Pear Relish & Black Rice
Serves 4
juicy Thai meatballs with a red curry sauce, black rice, and pear relish
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Thai Curry Sauce
  1. safflower oil, as needed
  2. 4 oz diced red pepper
  3. 1 lb diced onions
  4. 2 tsp minced garlic
  5. 2 tsp minced ginger
  6. salt, as needed
  7. 2 tbsp red curry paste
  8. 1 can (13.6 ml) coconut milk
  9. 3 dried chiles de arbol
  10. 2 tsp fish sauce
  11. ½ lime, juiced
Meatballs
  1. 2 lbs ground beef (75% lean)
  2. 3 oz ancient grain bread, diced
  3. 1 cup milk
Black Rice
  1. 1 cup black rice
  2. 3 cups chicken stock
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. 1 (1/2”) piece of ginger
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  7. ½ lime, juiced
Pear Relish
  1. 6 oz diced pears
  2. 2 oz golden raisins
  3. ½ oz honey
  4. 1 tsp lime juice
  5. ½ oz sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
  6. black sesame seeds, for garnish
Thai Curry Sauce
  1. Heat a heavy-bottom pot (I use my Le Creuset) over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom. Add the onions and red pepper. Let sauté for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt. Transfer half of this mixture into a bowl and reserve for the meatballs.
  2. To the mixture left in the pot, add another splash of oil. Stir in the red curry paste and let it “fry” in the oil for a minute or two, stirring often. Add the coconut milk and dried chiles de arbol. Stir well until the coconut milk is fully incorporated. Bring the liquid to a bubble and let gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the dried chiles. Transfer the sauce to a blender, working in batches if needed, and blend on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer the sauce back to a pot and keep the heat turned off or extremely low (you don’t want the sauce to break and you could always heat it later if needed). Right before serving, stir in the fish sauce and lime juice.
Black Rice
  1. Combine the black rice and chicken stock in a heavy-bottom pot. Use the back of your knife to smash the garlic cloves and piece of ginger. Add these to the pot with the bay leaf and fresh thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let the rice cook for about 1 hour. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the lid so that any excess water can evaporate. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt to taste.
Meatballs
  1. Meanwhile, place the ground beef in a large bowl and let come to room temperature. In a smaller bowl, combine the bread and milk. Submerge all of the bread cubes in the milk and let soak for about 20 minutes, or until the bread is soft.
  2. Add the soaked bread to the ground beef, slightly wringing out the milk before adding it (you won’t want it to be completely dry, though, as the milk adds a lot of moisture to the meatballs). Season the mixture with salt and mix well. Begin to roll the mixture into meatballs by weighing out 2.5 oz of meat. Form that piece of meat into an even, round ball. Continue to form the balls, making sure you stay close to the size of the 2.5 oz meatball.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375F. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. When the oil is sizzling hot, work in batches to sear the meatballs on all sides until deep brown. Transfer the meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with foil. Once all of meatballs are seared, bake them for 10 minutes to finish cooking.
Pear Relish
  1. As one of the last steps (so the pears don’t brown), gently toss the pears, raisins, honey, lime juice, and green onions together. Reserve as a garnish.
To Serve
  1. Serve the meatballs on a big bed of the black rice. Spoon the Thai curry sauce over top. Garnish with the pear relish and green onions. Sprinkle the black sesame seeds as a finishing touch.
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Thai curry meatballs

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