This recipe of Jumbo Brisket Meatballs is inspired by Italian meatballs called polpette, and the traditional uncooked tomato sauce called “passata.” These brisket meatballs are so tender and so flavorful, and they get a quick simmer in San Marzano Tomato Sauce with wonderful aromatic flavor from smoked chili flakes, orange peel strips and marjoram leaves. This recipe has Italian and Passover influences. Perfect meal plan recipe to make for weeknight dinners.
Hello my friends. It’s Carlos. I’m back from a long break writing here. It was a busy end of the year at my full-time job, plus I took a much needed vacation over the holidays. First, I want to wish you a wonderful 2020 with a lot of success, health, and happiness. I hope that all your dreams come true. I started the year with fantastic news from my job. I am nominated to be Sales Rep of the Year. This is my third time being nominated, and I won the same award back in 2006. Also this year, I am part of the President Top Ten. So I cannot ask for more.
Geoffrey and I have a tradition every New Year’s Eve of creating our goals before the new year starts. But we also review our accomplishments for the past year. I can tell you that we reached most of our personal and professional goals. I believe when you put your intentions on paper, things start to fall into place and happen when you follow your plans. I don’t look at my goals during the year or get stressed out about those goals. The key is to create intentions and focus on what is important to you.
For this week’s recipe, I’m bringing you Jumbo Brisket Meatballs in San Marzano Tomato Sauce. This recipe is our monthly collaboration with Flora Fine Foods, importers of high-quality Italian Food. For this extraordinarily amazing brisket meatball recipe, I selected their San Marzano D.O.P. Tomatoes. I love this product because those tomatoes have a thicker flesh with fewer seeds, and the taste is more concentrated, sweeter, and less acidic.
The inspiration for this San Marzano Tomato Sauce recipe comes from the Italian recipe called tomato passata. It’s an uncooked tomato sauce made from crushed and strained tomatoes. This sauce is a bit thick but pour-able with a light and fresh taste. Passata means “strained.” These jumbo meatballs are called polpette in Italy.
San Marzano Tomato Sauce is the easiest and quickest tomato sauce that you will ever make. There is almost no cooking time for this tomato sauce. You only need to cook it for less than 3 minutes.
How to make San Marzano Tomato Sauce or tomato passata
First, you need to thinly slice ½ cups of garlic, which is about 18 garlic cloves. If you have a mandolin, the work gets much easier, but I highly recommend to use protective gloves to protect your fingers tip. I use the Paderno World Cuisine Mandoline. Also, you need five orange peel strips. Now, heat the saucepan and cook the sliced garlic in olive oil on medium-high, stirring often until the garlic is soft but not brown - about one minute and thirty seconds. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic. If you need to reduce the heat, do it.
You can add the can of whole San Marzano Tomatoes to the saucepan and get a potato masher and crush the tomatoes, but I prefer to add the tomatoes to a large container and crush them with my hands first. After you add the marjoram leaves, orange peel strips, salt, and crushed red pepper, bring the pot to a boil over medium-high, and then remove from heat. This is almost like raw tomato sauce.
Selecting Brisket for these Jumbo Brisket Meatballs
For the meatballs, I select brisket for a rich meaty flavor. You will not be able to find ground brisket at the supermarket, but you can ask the butcher if they can do it for you. When I first was planning to make this recipe, I got the ground brisket at my local Whole Foods, but when I got home, I was not ready, and I forgot and left the uncooked meat in the refrigerator for almost five days. I’m very picky with raw and uncooked food in the fridge for more than 3-4 days, so I made the sad decision to throw the meat into the trash. It was unfortunate because I don’t like to waste food, and this was expensive meat. Then I had to buy more brisket. But this time I got it in a different supermarket and they doubled the price to grind the meat. So I decided to grind the meat myself. Read the recipe “Gourmet Dominican Chimichurri Hamburger,” where I teach how to grind your own meat.
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Steps to make Jumbo Brisket Meatballs
#1. In a large mixing bowl, add ground brisket, matzo meal, water, eggs, olive oil, sea salt, ground fennel, black pepper, and crushed smoked chili flakes. Mix with your hands until combined, but do not overwork the mixture
#2. Shape mixture into 16-19 large balls (about ⅓ cup each). Arrange meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I got 19 Jumbo Brisket Meatballs.
#3. Bake in a preheated oven until browned and a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of meatball registers 150°F; about 22 minutes.
#4. Transfer the Jumbo Brisket Meatballs to the San Marzano Tomato Sauce in the saucepan.
#5. Serve warm, garnished with marjoram leaves.
I serve the jumbo brisket meatballs with a loaf of crusty bread to dip into the yummy San Marzano tomato sauce. It is a fulfilling meal just like that, but if you wish, you can serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or an accompaniment of salad. This is an excellent recipe to eat during Passover or any Jewish holiday where you usually eat brisket. This recipe also has matzo meal added instead of breadcrumbs.
As I said before, this recipe is inspired by a recipe by Food & Wine called Brisket Meatballs in Tomato Passata, but I don’t make it the same way. Tomato Passata is a sauce made with tomatoes that have been strained to remove the seeds and the skin. I don’t do this step, and instead I add the San Marzano canned tomatoes with all the juices, and I crush them with my hands.
What to know about San Marzano D.O.P. Tomatoes
- D.O.P. stands for the Italian phrase Denominazione d' Origine Protetta (roughly, "protected designation of origin"). San Marzano D.O.P. certification guarantees that a tomato is of the San Marzano variety and location. So, not all San Marzano tomatoes have this certification. This is very important because the certification confirms that the San Marzano tomato has been grown, harvested, and packed in the region of Campania in the Sarnese-Nocerino area in Italy.
- The San Marzano tomato has compact and fleshy pulp, is not very watery, and has few seeds which makes it very suitable for quick cooking which allows you to preserve a better flavor in your tomato sauce.
- The name comes from the city; this elongated tomato saw its birth in San Marzano Sul Sarno.
- San Marzano D.O.P. has been grown in a particular volcanic ash soil that has a good tomato reputation.
Watch this video for more information about San Marzano D.O.P. Tomatoes and how they are packed in one kitchen:
What can I do with the leftover San Marzano Tomato Sauce?
- Use it to braise meats, chicken, or any protein or vegetable for a delicious sauce
- Make shakshuka or Eggs in Purgatory
- Make marinara sauce adding more vegetables for a more complex flavor to use for pasta or meatballs
- Add some spices to make a pizza sauce
- Make a hearty vegetable soup
- Poach a fish using the leftover San Marzano Tomato Sauce and add more aromatics along with capers and olives
- Use it as a base to make chili
- Use it to make Lasagna
- Make Pasta all’Arrabbiata
- Use to make a Ragu sauce
When I made this recipe, Geoffrey loved it so much that he didn’t want to share the leftovers with me. He tried to eat almost all of the Jumbo Brisket Meatballs in San Marzano Tomato Sauce himself. I hope you get to try this easy, delicious, and very flavorful dish made with a lot of love. If you plan to make it, please let us know in the comment section, or share your creation with photos here or in any of our social media channels tagging @Spoonabilities and using the hashtag #Nojarsleftbehind. Until next time,...
Wishing you Tasty Happenings,
Your Recipe Concierge!
Jumbo Brisket Meatballs are so tender and flavorful in an aromatic San Marzano Tomato Sauce. This sauce is a quick simmer with smoked chili flakes, orange peel strips and marjoram leaves. These jumbo meatballs are called polpette in Italy.
Jumbo Brisket Meatballs
- 2+½ pounds ground brisket
- cooking spray
- 2 cups unsalted matzo meal
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil Click to order here online
- 4+¼ teaspoons Pure Sea Salt from Messolonghi Click to order here online
- 1 teaspoon crushed smoked chili flakes, or you can use red pepper flakes.
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon ground fennel seeds (optional). The flavor of the fennel is very characteristic. You can adjust to your taste if it’s too strong for you.
San Marzano Tomato Sauce
- ½ cup (about 18 garlic cloves) sliced garlic
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil Click to order here online
- 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled, drained and crushed, San Marzano plum tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh marjoram leaves
- 5 (4 x 1 inch) orange peel strips
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed smoked chili flakes, or you can use red pepper flakes.
- Fresh marjoram leaves
Make the Jumbo Brisket Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with cooking spray.
- Combine main ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, add the ground brisket, matzo meal, water, eggs, olive oil, sea salt, ground fennel, black pepper and crushed smoke chili flakes.
- Mix together with your hands until combined, but do not overwork the mixture
- Make meatballs: Shape meat into 16-19 large balls (about ⅓ cup each). Arrange meatballs on prepared baking pan. I got 19 Jumbo Brisket Meatballs.
- Bake in preheated oven until browned and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meatball registers 150°F; about 22 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the San Marzano Tomato Sauce
- Cook garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir often until garlic is soft but not brown, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic. If you need to reduce the heat, do it.
- Add crushed tomatoes, marjoram leaves, orange peel strips, salt, and crushed smoked chili flakes, or you can use red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then remove from heat as soon as it reaches a boil.
- Transfer the Jumbo Brisket Meatballs into the San Marzano Tomato Sauce in the saucepan.
- Serve warm, garnished with marjoram leaves
- Prep Time: 23 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Category: meatballs
- Method: Bake, stove top
- Cuisine: Italian, Jewish
Keywords: Passover dish, unique meatballs, brisket meatball
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