When you think of the word “meatballs,” what comes to mind? It’s probably something different for everyone: It could be spaghetti and meatballs or Swedish meatballs, a meatball grinder or meatballs made with something other than beef or pork. On tonight’s episode of Chopped, the chefs face cooking meatballs out of their mystery baskets in every round. And the Chopped judges decided to get in on the fun, too, taking on the appetizer basket from the show on After Hours.
Faced with the ingredients lamb shanks, fresh ginger, baby leeks and one outlier, creme brulee, the judges have 30 minutes to make a meatball dish, but each one takes a very different direction. “We have no choice but to grind this stuff,” says Scott about the lamb shanks, which can take a long time to cook. But he turns on a dime when it comes time to cook, deciding to braise the lamb shanks to make a ragu with vegetarian “meatballs” made out of spinach, leeks and ricotta.