Fasírt! The Hungarian meatball! It doubles as both a main course and as a side for főzelék (vegetable stew), particularly krumplifőzelék (the vegetable stew of potato variety). It can also be served alongside rice, sautéed vegetables, lecsó, mashed potatoes, or pretty much anything you’d serve with schnitzel, as they’re pretty similar. (´･ω･`)
What separates this from other meatballs is the fact that… uh, I actually don’t know. But they’re tasty and that’s all I care about! ⊂((・▽・))⊃
So in Hungary they typically use ground pork, beef, or even turkey, but most commonly pork. As for me, I like to use a combination of pork and beef, but not turkey because ground turkey is a little harder to work with. But no matter what kind of meat you use, just make sure it’s not that extra-extra-lean crap. Just because it lacks flavour doesn’t mean it’s healthier!!! ( ꒪Д꒪)ノ
Ingredients (makes around 10-12 meatballs, 4 portions)
500g ground meat*
100g (about 2 slices) stale white bread**
1 small brown onion (or half a big one)
1/2 tbsp peanut oil (to cook the onion)
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt***
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
peanut oil for shallow-frying/deep-frying****
1. Begin by placing your stale bread into a bowl of water or milk, and just let it soak for a bit.
2. Cook diced onion on medium heat with a pinch of salt until translucent.
3. To a mixing bowl, add ground meat, cooked onion, minced or crushed garlic*****, your eggs, salt, black pepper, and finally, squeeze the liquid out from the soaked bread until it’s nothing but a mushy mess and add that into the mixing bowl as well.
4. Using one hand, work the meat mixture until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and evenly distributed within the mixture.
5. Get your breadcrumbs ready on a plate or a bowl. Take chunks of the meat mixture about half a fist in size and roll them firmly into balls or patties******
6. Roll the balls or patties around in the breadcrumbs, or just take a handful of breadcrumbs and roll them around in your hands so their outsides are covered in breadcrumbs and place them on a plate. It helps if your hands are slightly damp for this.
If you have a deep-fryer, just deep-fry and skip to step 10.
7. In a stainless-steel saucepan or skillet (I recommend a saucepan to minimize the oil splashing), heat up your oil of choice on medium-high, adding enough oil to submerge the meatballs or patties halfway.
8. Make sure to test the oil first by tossing a chunk of your ground meat into the oil. If it starts sizzling, you’re good to go.
9. Cook as many as your saucepan/skillet allows you to at once, but try not to let them touch. Flip occasionally making sure both sides get nice and golden-brown. (You may want to pop one open to see if the insides are cooked properly. If not, turn the heat down just slightly and cook for longer.)
10. Place cooked meatballs onto a paper towel and pat them dry.
11. Serve with krumplif– yeah I already mentioned how to serve it in the introduction.
*I use 250g of pork and 250g of beef, but you can use any combination you like.
**In Hungary they’ll use plain white buns called zsemle. Will whole wheat bread work? Probably. Will fresh bread work? Probably. As long as it’s bread it’ll probably work. Probably. (´･ω･`)
***Since you can’t really taste and adjust, just trust me and use a generous teaspoonful of coarse sea salt, or a not as generous teaspoonful of fine salt.
****If you want to ruin your meat, feel free to use “vegetable” oil or canola oil. (That means don’t use either. Use a good high-temperature oil, and I personally recommend peanut oil.)
*****As much as I hate using a garlic press, this is one of those rare occasions where I would actually prefer crushing my garlic over mincing it. So yeah, crush your garlic if you can; it just works a little better in meatballs.
******If you’re using a deep-fryer, balls would be fine. For shallow-frying, press them slightly into a flatter patty-ish shape. This is just to make sure the meatballs are cooked all the way through and you don’t end up with a pink center.
You know, I don’t usually eat pork, but sometimes, it’s necessary… for authenticity. (´･ω･`)
(And also for the taste. Sometimes, there is no suitable substitution…)
(fasirt, fashirt, fasheert, rantott, hus, rántott, hús)