There are various foods that are traditionally eaten for New Year, either on New Year’s Eve or on New Year’s Day itself, that are filled with symbolism of what they bring for the year ahead. Twelve grapes are eaten as the bells chime midnight in Spain and also in many places in Latin America (thanks to colonization), some say for luck, others believe each grape represents a month and so if one is sour, that month might be less good. While interpretations can vary despite a food being eaten in a number of places, many of the foods are believed to symbolize wealth and prosperity.
For example greens are eaten in many places (sauerkraut in Germany, collards in Southern US) and round foods such as legumes and donuts are all said to represent money. Another common food eaten at New Year is pork, some interpreting the fact that it’s an animal that routes in the ground symbolizing moving forward, others the fact it’s a relatively rich and fatty animal symbolizing wealth. Whatever your take on it, pork is a tasty option whether for New Year or any excuse and whether you take these (round) pork meatballs to doubly symbolize wealth and prosperity or not, they are delicious either way.
I mentioned when I made some other pork meatballs before that pork is such a versatile meat, and it’s a great meat to use in meatballs and add in different flavors. Many meatballs, such as those that my husband make for wedding soup, are a mixture of pork and another one or more meats, but it is also good at holding it’s own. Here I have added lemon, arugula/rocket and parmesan to give a nice freshness that’s deliciously tasty. They are really easy to make, getting the food processor to do the work of breaking things up and mixing, then they are simply fried a few minutes on two or more sides before serving.
These pork meatballs would make a great appetizer with, for example, some alioli to dip them in, but you can also make them into a main course as we did. Try them served with some pasta (we had some with gorgonzola mixed through which was great with this, but a light tomato sauce would also be good) or lemony couscous, plus salad or some simply-cooked vegetables.
While I was inspired to make these thinking about foods for New Year, these pork meatballs are really too good to only have once a year – they are both tasty plus incredibly quick and easy to make so they are likely to become a regular mid-week meal for us I think, with credentials like that. Everyone immediately liked them here, and I hope you will too. And if they bring you a bit of prosperity, all the better.
Pork meatballs with arugula and lemon
- 1 oz bread 30g
- 2 oz arugula 60g
- 1 lb ground pork 450g pork mince
- 1 oz parmesan 30g finely grated
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 egg
- A little vegetable oil for frying approx 1tbsp
- Roughly break up the bread and put it in the food processor. Pulse until it is broken up into breadcrumbs.
- Add the arugula to the breadcrumbs and pulse a few times to break up to small pieces and mix.
- Add the ground pork, grated parmesan, lemon zest and egg then pulse a couple times to combine. You may need to mix it a little more by hand to ensure everything is mixed through, particularly that you don't get clumps of lemon zest.
- Take roughly tablespoon-sized scoops of the mixture and form into slightly flattened balls.
- Heat a skillet/frying pan with a little vegetable oil then add some of the meatballs with enough space in between so you can get in to turn them. Cook for a few minutes on 2-3 sides, depending on size and how cooked they look, until they are gently browned. Serve warm (although they would be good at room temperature as well).