Giant Pork Meatballs with Bitter Greens

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Randy Mon  

The bracing flavor of mustard or dandelion contrasts nicely with the savory meatballs, but you can use any greens you like (tougher greens, like kale, may require longer cooking). Serve with hot polenta on the side.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 30 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 421
  • Calories from fat: 65%
  • Protein: 26g
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrate: 10g
  • Fiber: 3.5g
  • Sodium: 647mg
  • Cholesterol: 99mg


  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large bunch (about 1 lb.) greens, such as mustard, dandelion, or escarole, trimmed and torn into rough 2-in. pieces
  • 1 large bunch (about 1 lb.) Swiss chard, trimmed and torn into rough 2-in. pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • Hot cooked polenta


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450º. In a food processor, whirl together bread crumbs, buttermilk, anchovy paste, parsley, cheese, and capers. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add pork and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands. Form 6 to 8 meatballs.
  2. 2. Heat oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning as needed, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. 3. Pour in 1/2 cup broth. Transfer pan to oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  4. 4. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/2 cup broth in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic. When fragrant, add greens a few handfuls at a time, stirring just until they wilt before adding the next batch. Sprinkle with salt to taste and the chile flakes. Transfer greens to a serving dish, top with meatballs, and pour any liquid from the baking dish over the greens.
  5. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving without polenta.
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