My husband and I will celebrate our twenty-third wedding anniversary on Saturday. I like the number 23 because there is nothing particularly special about it. With no decades nor parts of a century to marker, we can focus on what is truly important—the marriage and family we have built together. I went into this marriage with a bit of trepidation, not because my love and commitment to Al were not firm. Rather, because we had both loved and lost before. I knew that with Al I’d found my true life partner. Still, I remember the morning we married on a rainy day in Southfield, Michigan. With only a few friends as our witnesses, I thought that if I kept quiet about this marriage I couldn’t jinx it and just maybe this time happiness and stability would be mine. Of course, I didn’t keep quiet and here we are 23 years later more deeply in love and committed than ever. Like any marriage and family, the years have been filled with both joy and sorrow. What has been different for me in my marriage to Al is that no matter what we face in life, I know that he and I put each other first, before any other considerations. Even in my darkest moments, when I feel like my heart is broken, I know it cannot be so because Al is with me holding it together with his love. And when I am feeling light, with my heart soaring, I am grounded by the happiness that is our love.
This dish of Maple Chipotle Meatballs is one that Al enjoyed earlier this week. Forming a cross between a meatball and a meatloaf, ground pork and rice are mixed with savory spices, fresh cilantro, golden raisins and topped with maple chipotle barbecue sauce. Served in a bed of cilantro atop a warmed flour tortilla, this is a hearty and satisfying winter dish. It’s a meal on its own.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
MAPLE CHIPOTLE MEATBALLS
Yield: 4 Servings
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup cooked rice, white or brown
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon Stonewall Kitchen Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- ¼ cup golden raisins, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped finely
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Olive oil, for cooking
- 4 flour tortillas
- ½ cup Stonewall Kitchen Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
- Large handful fresh cilantro, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup golden raisins
- In a large bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients except the olive oil. Form this mixture into 4 large balls equal in size. Place the balls on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Coat a large pan with olive oil and place on high heat on the stove top. When the oil is hot, add the prepared meatballs. Using heatproof tongs or a wooden spoon, gently turn the meatballs so that they are browned on each side. Move the pan to the oven.
- Bake the meatballs until they are cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- While the meatballs are in the oven, lightly heat the flour tortillas either in a dry pan on the stove top or in a microwave oven.
- Place one tortilla on each of 4 dinner plates. Place one meatball on each tortilla. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro and golden raisins.
- Serve and enjoy.