Haven't been able to cook on the kettle for a while, but, finally got back to it. And I decided to do something relatively simple and quick, since my ankle and foot are not up to a lot of going in and out to the kettle. One of the things I love about the kettle is it's versatility. Today, it was spaghetti and meatballs.
Step one was to halve 5 large roma-type tomatoes, slice up one large onion and about 8 cloves of whole garlic were peeled. All were placed into a pie pan, liberally salted and hit with black pepper, freshly ground. This was placed into the kettle at a low temperature (225F) to melt. This took one hour to get to the interim product.
After the veggies were suitably melted, they were run through a blender and then a sieve to produce a very smoky, garlicky, tomato sauce. After straining, this was added to an equal amount of tomato sauce made on the stove. I then reduced the sauce, added vinegar to adjust for some of the concentration of the sugars that occurred during the smoking process. I also added a tablespoon of hot sauce to perk up the flavors, this did not make it hot, just enough to add a little tingle.
The meatballs were made with grass fed/grain finished beef, dry bread crumbs, egg, flat leaf parsley and grana padano cheese grated. It was lightly blended and then formed into meatballs, about 1/4 pound each. I placed these onto the grill at 250F for an hour to smoke them up and get the meatballs crusted up a little. I finished the meatballs in the sauce and then plated. Spaghetti was cooked and some sauce was sauteed into the pasta to dress it. Meatballs and some more Grana Padano to finish, with a little iced tea to wash it down.
The overall dish had a nice smoky undertone, a mild heat just on the end of each bite and a very fresh tomato taste despite the use of slow-cooked tomatoes. I think the use of dry heat in the kettle helped intensify the sugars and flesh of the tomatoes and onions that kept a fresher taste in the sauce. The meatballs had the distinct flavor of smoked meat that is the hallmark of cooking over fire.