Veal Meatballs with Mustard Greens


Hugh Acheson flavors his tender veal meatballs with fennel and smoked chile and serves them with sautéed mustard greens instead of pasta. Slideshow:  Meatball Recipes 

Veal Meatballs with Mustard Greens
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup minced onion

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle or other smoked chile powder

  • 1 pound ground veal

  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (2 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 pound mustard greens, thick stems discarded and leaves chopped

  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth


  1. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the minced onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic, the fennel seeds, mustard powder, crushed red pepper, coriander and chile powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes; let cool.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the cooled onion mixture with the veal, bread crumbs, cream, egg and salt. Form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, 5 minutes. Gently push the meatballs to one side of the skillet. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan, then add the mustard greens and stock. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the greens are wilted, 4 minutes. Spoon the meatballs and greens into bowls and serve.

Make Ahead

The meatballs can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

A refreshing, versatile sparkling wine such as a Brut Rosé Cava or California Cuvée.

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