When I was growing up P-E-A-S was a four letter word and there was no amount of bribing or threatening that would make me eat them. But my mother (my cooking guru) who despite my moaning every time I would smell the peas cooking, insisted on making my siblings and me, her meatballs & peas for dinner at least once a week.
I must tell you all, I was pretty persistent, I refused to eat peas for most of my childhood right into my late 20’s. Uch, these green mushy things –who can even think about eating them! For some reason the smell alone – cooking in the house would drive me to distraction. I literally had to leave the kitchen when they were on the stove. Forget about having them touch any other piece of food, there were like ants, you can never get them all out of a dish once you put them in, there is no way for a person to just “pick them out”. As you can tell, my pea repulsion ran deep. So much so, that for the first 2 years of having my restaurant, I refused to make split pea soup, even though it was my customers most requested soup.
I am not even sure what made me take the pea plunge, but one day when I was at my mom’s house in Israel for dinner and she broke out her meatball and peas recipe, my pea phobia was not so strangling. As everyone was enjoying their meal to the fullest, something inside of me said – Why not? It’s really can’t be as bad as I remember it? The truth is I don’t really know what it tastes like.
And like Sam- I- am from Dr. Suess, I like them -I like them – Sam, Meatballs & Peas YUM!
So now ever since my Pea Awakening Moment, or what I like to call my “Pea-piphany” I have become a huge fan of those little green balls of delight. I make and eat them all the time and religiously add them to recipes. I also realized, how as a kid we develop these crazy ideas about what tastes good and what doesn’t – sometimes irrationally. (chopped liver any one?) That maybe this self-inflicted pea hatred was something I heard from classmates, or the look of it just wasn’t appealing the first time. Who knows? But as an adult with more common sense I found it so interesting that my childish anxieties had stopped me from experiencing culinary glee. How sad to think there are possibly other enjoyments I have deprived myself of…
But at the end of the day, there is nothing as good as my once upon- a- time-dinner arch enemy – Mommy’s Meatballs & Peas – and that’s what for Dinner Tonight! –and if my daughter Tunie is a good taste tester – it’s a real winner! check her out in this video http://youtu.be/fpnMWSa5B2M
till next dinner,
1lb ground turkey or veal (also beef works)
1/2 cup favorite honey dijon mustard
1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzo meal
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dill
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
For the peas & onion
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium vadallia onion, diced
1lb bag frozen peas
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. cilantro
1 tsp. dill
1 tsp. ground mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. cumin -
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet white wine
In a large mixing bowl, combine all your meatball ingredients. Make small to medium size meatballs and set aside.
In a wok or large skillet sautee on med-high heat the onions in olive oil until the onions have turned translucent. Add the spices and minced garlic to the onions and mix and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the peas to the onion mixture and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add your readied meatballs to the pea mixture and let cook for about 3 minutes (mix gently). Then add the wine to the meatballs and peas, mix, cover wok and let cook for about 6-8 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked. Check on meatballs after first 3 minutes and mix if necessary. Uncover and let simmer for another minute or so. Serve over couscous, pasta, or plain with a salad.
tip: I love to eat these meatballs with a little honey dijon sauce I make.
once you serve the meatballs and peas, deglaze your pan with a little more (about 1/4-1/2 cup) wine or chicken broth, add another tbsp. of dijon mustard to the wine, 1 tsp. of honey, and let cook down for about 4 minutes until you have a great dipping sauce for your meatballs.