A Panade Adds Panache

Meatballs?  Meatloaf?  Stuffed peppers?  Adding a panade to your ground/minced meat will give it a little panache and lighten rather than tighten the mixture.  A panade is, quite simply, a mixture of starch and liquid.  It seems one of the most common panades is bread – slices, pieces, crumbs – and milk.  I use panko and yogurt. 

Today I’m making a ground meat mixture for stuffed peppers; anything not used for stuffing the peppers will be turned into meatballs, baked off and put in the freezer for another meal down the road.  There’s nothing better than a “two-fer” when you’re cooking!  😊  This is my go-to recipe for any needed meat mixtures, except my meatloaf and Swedish meatballs. 

Did anyone else help mom in the kitchen by breaking bread slices up into little bits for meatloaf and/or meatballs?  I now wonder if that was my mom’s panade.  There was never milk involved and, if you didn’t break the bread up into small enough pieces, you could easily end up with little white dots (I used to refer to them as eyeballs) peering out at you from your slice of meatloaf. 

On to the recipe! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium green sweet peppers, with tops and seed core removed.
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (I use my garlic press)
  • 1.5 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup onion, finely minced (I pulse it in my food processor a few times)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt (I use Celtic sea salt)
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once the water is at a rolling boil, place your sweet peppers gently (no hot splashes, please) into the water.  I use my tongs for this. 
  • Allow the peppers to par boil for 3-4 minutes, and then gently remove them with tongs or a slotted spoon, and place open side down on clean toweling to drain while preparing your meat mixture.
  • Make panade:  In a bowl, mix together the panko and yogurt until combined.  Set this aside for 10-15 minutes while you make up your meat mixture.
  • Preheat your oven to 425º F, and prepare your baking dish.  For the peppers I use my 8×8 square Pyrex dish coated with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  For the meatballs made from the leftover meat mixture, I line a small sheet pan with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl mix together the meats, garlic, eggs, cheese, onion, fresh and dried herbs, Worcestershire, salt, and black and cayenne pepper.  Using your hands, begin to mix these together.  After working all the ingredients for a minute or so, add in the panade, and continue to mix until everything is evenly mixed together and there are no visible pockets of concentrated ingredients.
  • At this point your peppers should be cool enough to handle.  Pack each pepper lightly with your meat mixture and place them in a baking dish.  If the peppers won’t sit upright easily, I crumple up pieces of foil and place them so they keep the peppers upright.  I don’t like sauce on my sweet peppers, preferring to place a slice of cheese – usually fresh mozzarella – atop each pepper about 10 minutes before they are done.  Since I have no fresh mozzarella today, I’ll be using slices of muenster cheese instead.  You can, of course, top your peppers as you like, whether with cheese, ketchup or a tomato or other sauce. 
  • If you have any meat left after making the peppers, you can make them into meatballs and bake them off as well.  I use a medium cookie scoop to measure the amount of meat in my meatballs but, generally, you want to use about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture for each meatball. 
  • Cook your peppers for approximately 25 minutes.  The internal temperature should reach at least 165º F.  Since ovens can vary, I usually begin checking the temperature about 5 minutes before the timer goes off.  I usually let mine go to 170º F.  Your meatballs, being smaller than the pepper filling, will likely be done to 165º F in 12-15 minutes.  Please always be certain to check the internal temperature to ensure that your meat is fully cooked.  This recipe gave me four stuffed peppers and 28 meatballs.

Whether you’re making stuffed peppers or meatballs, or both!, please feel free to let me know how they turned out for you.  I hope you enjoy them!

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”  Matthew 25:35-36

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