Serves 4


For the meatballs and sauce:
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. high-quality olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup hard cider
  • 1/2 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

    For the polenta:
  • 4 cups chicken, or vegetable, stock
  • 1 cup medium, or fine, cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter


    Using your hands, mix together the pork, bread crumbs, eggs, sage, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl; then form into golf-ball-size meatballs.

    Set a medium saucepan, or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides (in batches, if necessary), about 3 minutes, and remove to a plate. They do not have to be cooked-through.

    Turn down heat to medium and sauté the shallot for about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sugar and cook for another minute. Whisk in the chicken stock, cider, vinegar and butter and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add the meatballs back to the pot. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked-through.

    Meanwhile, make the polenta. Bring the stock to a boil in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Pour the cornmeal into the pot slowly, whisking as you go. The mixture will thicken after 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and let the mixture bubble on the stovetop for another 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and adding water if it becomes too thick for your liking.

    When the meatballs are cooked-through, remove them from the pot and turn up the heat for about 5 minutes, until the braising liquid has thickened slightly.

    Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the butter. Serve the meatballs with (or on top of) the polenta, with sauce spooned on top.

    From How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners, and Every Day In Between (Ballantine) by Jenny Rosenstrach.

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