Cook | Peppy Sephardic flavors pair well with latkes

Every year at Hanukkah, I try to find something new to serve with potato latkes that’s a bit saucy or has a lot of flavorful liquid. This year my latkes will meet their match with Spanish Meatballs in Brava Sauce and Pomegranate Molasses Mini Meat Loaves.

Both are made with versatile ground turkey and Sephardic flavors. (Do not use the drier ground turkey breast.) To test the seasonings for either recipe, roll a tablespoon of turkey mixture into a ball. Fry in oil until done and taste. Correct seasonings as needed before cooking the remainder of the recipe.

The recipes may be made ahead. Reheat meat loaves in foil cups in oven and meatballs in their sauce. Both recipes can also be frozen after they are cooked. Freeze the meat loaves (in foil cups) or the meatballs in a single layer on a tray until solid and then place in an airtight container.


Spanish Meatballs in Brava Sauce

Serves 6-8

For meatballs:

2 lbs. ground turkey

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. paprika

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 Tbs. minced cilantro

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne), optional

1 egg, beaten

oil for frying

For brava sauce:

3 Tbs. olive oil, plus 2 more Tbs.

2 cups diced onion

3 Tbs. minced garlic

2 cups diced green bell pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 cup water or stock

3-4 Tbs. chopped green olives stuffed with pimento (optional)

Mix turkey well with cumin, paprika, garlic, cilantro, salt, black pepper, tomato paste, cinnamon, red pepper and egg. Roll into 1-inch balls. Add oil to just cover the bottom of a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Fry meatballs, turning occasionally, until cooked through (working in batches and adding more oil as needed).

Prepare brava sauce by heating 3 Tbs. olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté until softened. Add minced garlic and bell pepper, sauté until pepper has softened. Stir in salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper, canned tomatoes and water or stock. Bring to simmer. Cover. Simmer 10 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. Remove cover, stir in remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Simmer uncovered, stirring often for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables have cooked through and sauce has thickened, adding water or stock if needed. Serve meatballs in brava sauce. Garnish with chopped olives.


Pomegranate Molasses Mini Meat Loaves

Makes 8 mini loaves

1/4 tsp. ground oregano

1/8 tsp. ground mint

2 lbs. ground turkey

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup matzah meal

Pomegranate molasses sauce, divided (recipe below)

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

about 1/16 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stack two baking trays on top of each other (double pan). Have ready 8 foil cupcake liner cups.

Crumble oregano and mint until very fine. Mix with turkey, eggs, matzah meal, 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses sauce, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cinnamon. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture, roll into a large meatball and place in a foil baking cup on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining mixture. Space foil cups out on top of doubled baking trays.

Pour out 1/4 cup pomegranate sauce. Brush on top of loaves. Bake 20-25 minutes until firm. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Serve in liners with the remaining sauce.

Pomegranate molasses sauce: In pan over low heat, mix 1 cup pomegranate molasses with 1/4 cup tomato paste, 2 tsp. sugar and 1/4 salt. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Cool. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.)

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Contact her at [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].