Meatballs on Leek & Winter Squash Mash with Spiced Browned Butter

Meatballs on Leek & Winter Squash Mash with Spiced Browned Butter

Meatballs on Leek & Winter Squash Mash with Spiced Browned Butter

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, cooking and eating wholesome natural foods is one of the many ways to support our immune system during the winter season.* Combining nutrient-dense vegetables with dependable protein sources is a sure route to nourishing and satisfying cold-weather meals.

An easy way to boost your daily protein consumption is to add Biochem 100% Whey Isolate Protein to savory main dishes. Made with non-GMO ingredients and dairy sourced from American farmed, grass-fed cows, this neutral-tasting Biochem protein powder blends seamlessly with ground meat. It makes it easy to hit daily protein requirements while reducing meat per serving. (As a bonus, adding Biochem Whey Isolate Protein Powder to meat enhances browning.)

meat balls with squash and spicy butter

For this keto diet-friendly, comforting main dish, sage-enhanced leek and winter squash – both excellent sources of Vitamin C, beta carotene, and fiber – are mashed to create a bed for tender, parsley-studded meatballs. A quick and easy spice-fragrant tomato browned butter lends a final flourish.

For maximum drama serve this dish directly from the skillet or a platter. Pour over the browned butter at the table so diners can revel in the intoxicating scent of its warm spices.

meat balls with squash and spicy butter

Preparation time: 1 1⁄4 hours

6 servings

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, split lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons

1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 large sage leaves, minced

7 cups butternut or other variety of winter squash, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 2 pounds total)

1-pound ground beef (80%) or a mixture of ground pork and ground beef

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 bunch fresh parsley (leaves and tender stems), minced

Grated zest of 1 lemon or 1 small orange

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup Biochem 100% Whey Isolate Protein (Natural Flavor)

3 tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1⁄4 teaspoons hot or sweet paprika

3 tablespoons tomato puree (unsweetened)

meat balls with squash and spicy butter

Make the puree

Warm olive oil in a high-sided 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add sliced leeks, sprinkle over the salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft but not browned, 12-15 minutes. (If necessary, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking.)

Spoon one quarter of the leeks into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Add the pumpkin cubes to the leeks and stir. Add 1 1⁄4 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook at a brisk simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally to prevent sticking, until the squash is completely soft, 20-25 minutes. (Moisture content varies with squash varieties; keep an eye on the pan and add water, 1⁄4 cup at a time, if necessary.)

Remove from heat, use a fork to mash the squash, and set aside, covered.

While the squash is cooking, make the meatballs.

Add the ground meat to leeks in mixing bowl and break it up with a fork. Add egg and sprinkle over the parsley, lemon or orange zest, ground nutmeg, a few grinds of black pepper, salt, and Biochem 100% Whey Isolate Protein. Use a fork or your hands to mix thoroughly.

Roll slightly rounded tablespoons of the mixture into balls and set them on a plate.

Film the bottom of a 12-inch or larger (preferably non-stick) skillet with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Arrange the meatballs in the pan. (They should not touch each other – cook in two batches if necessary.) Cook the meatballs, turning gently, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Arrange the meatballs over the puree and place the pan over lowest heat, covered.

Make the browned butter

Melt the butter over low heat in a small skillet or sauce pan. Add the cloves and paprika and cook, swirling the butter, until you can smell the spices, about 2 minutes. Add the puree and stir it into the butter. Raise the heat to medium low and continue to cook, swirling until the contents of the pan bubble and turn dark red, about 3 more minutes.

Assemble the dish

Uncover the meatballs and squash puree, place on the table, and immediately pour over the butter.

meat balls with squash and spicy butter


Recipe uses fine sea salt. If using coarse salt increase amounts by 1⁄4 teaspoon.

Make ahead

  • Cook the winter squash puree and refrigerate for up to four days, or freeze and defrost. If it thickens, place over medium heat and thin with water to desired consistency.
  • Mix and form the meatballs in the morning, refrigerate, and cook just before serving. Or freeze the meatballs on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet before transferring to a freezer bag. (Defrost before browning.)

meat balls with squash and spicy butter

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