Caillette fumé with Spinach and Shiitake
The name “Caillette” may sound rather uncommon to you if you’re not familiar with french “cuisine”. To be honest I had never heard of them either. It’s a typical local recipe in the Ardèche region. I learned about this local recipe after buying the cookbook “Leven en Koken als Piet in Frankrijk” by Piet Huysentruyt. I wrote a piece about this book over here. For dutch readers definitely an interesting book to look into and I’m not payed for saying this. I submitted this recipe to the november edition of the Foodblogevent (dutch). Each month another theme is on. This time it’s about “oven” recipes. Since this recipe is perfectly oven convertible it was approved to join.
Note: You will lose the smokey flavours.
“Caillette” are some kind of french meatballs. They typically exist out of minced pork and leafy vegetables. Piet Huysentruyt made this Caillette recipe to show the locals they could also use the “Cepes” they harvest in the woods in many different ways without denying their traditions. Since I’m a meatball fan, looking out for recipes to make on my kamado BBQ, this recipe draw my attention immediately! They come in many forms and many tastes and have endless opportunities to experiment with. If you recognize yourself in this profile, it might be interesting to read on.
“Caillette”: How I made them
In this recipe I replaced the “Cepes” by Shiitake Mushrooms (btw: check this fantastic post on the wonderful cepes). Simply because I don’t have a forest nor the knowledge to pick my own Cepes. Moreover I couldn’t find any at the store either… BUT!! They did have some Shiitake and those happen to be my favorite Mushrooms. The other change I made was dropping the garlic level… He probably removed the garlic before mincing the cooked spinach. I’m just realising this while typing. Anyway I decided to use 4 times less garlic. Believe me! It was more than enough! I also used a little less shiitake and spinach. I was afraid the balls would fall apart since I had no “crépinette”. I don’t know if that’s a correct english word (A kind person told me it’s caul fat. Thanks for the intervention!). If not “Crépinette” is the peritoneum of the pig and looks like this:
You start by cutting the garlic in fine pieces. Toss them in a pan with slightly browned butter and put in the Spinach, salt and pepper. When the spinach is cooked you put it in a sief and swill it with cold water. This way it keeps it beautiful green colour. After you’ve done this part you let the juices wash away and chop the spinach finely. While the spinach is leaking you can start with chopping the Shiitake in small cubes. Bake them in a hot pan together with the smoked bacon. Season them with salt, pepper, freshly chopped parsil and a pinch of lemon zest.
Now you’re set to form the caillette (meatballs). What you need to do next is mixing up your ingredients. Start by putting the minced meat in a large bowl. Toss in the Spinach and Shiitake you’ve been preparing earlier on. Mix the ingredients through. I thought the mixture was to wet and tossed in 2 tbsp. of breadcrumbs (could depend on how well drained your vegetables are). Once you’ve mixed the ingredients thouroughly you can taste if the seasoning is ok. If not you can still add some herbs or spices at taste. Now you’re ready to form some balls. The recipe calls for little balls (50gr.). I don’t know if that’s typical for Caillette. Anyway, I decided to make two big ones (200 gr.).
Now we’re ready for the best part. I had set up my fire for indirect cooking at a temperature of 150°C (300°F). I tossed in some lemon wood for a nice and subtle smokey flavour. The smoke also causes the lovely colour in your end result. If you’re unfamiliar with smoking I sugest to start with fruit woods. These are more subtle and hard to mess up! This way you can find out whether you like the taste or not! You can also leave the smoking part behind if you don’t like smoked meat. Mine took about an 45 min. to 1 hr. until they reached a core temperature of 70°C (160°F).
Result: we ended up with a delicious well-balanced meal! I combined these “Caillette” with braised Purple Carrots and Parsnip. The recipe for these will follow later on! However the balls were pretty good and my wife loved them, the parsnip stole the show for me! So I have to share them soon! The lemon wood provided a slightly fruity smoke flavour that combined well with these ingredients! I could honestly say this recipe is worth having a taste! Please let me know if you did make them and share your opinion! Don’t hesitate to share or save for later! One click and this recipe is yours!
- 400 gr . Minced Meat
- 2 tbsp . Minced Smoked Bacon
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 150 gr . Spinach
- 150 gr . Shiitake
- 1 twig of Parsley
- Olive oil
- Lemon zest
- 2 tbsp . of breadcrumbs
Start your BBQ for indirect cooking at a temperature of 150°c (300°F)
Put some butter and a bit of oil in a big pan. Let the butter take a slight brown colour and toss in the minced Garlic.
Wash the Spinach and add it to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the leaves have shrimped and are cooked through.
When done you pour the spinach in a sief, rinse with cold water and let it drain for a couple of minutes. The more juices the more chance your Caillette would break.
Meanwhile you can cut your Shiitake in small cubes.
Once you've chopped the Shiitake toss some butter and the smoked bacon into the pan. Let the fat of the bacon melt before you toss in the Shiitake, parsley, pepper, salt and lemon zest (at taste). Cook until done.
Now you're ready to mix thouroughly the Minced Meat, Spinach and Shiitake (add some breadcrumbs if necessary to obtain a firm mixture).
Now you can form your caillette: meatballs. I made 2 meatballs of 200 gr.
Toss in some lemon wood for a delicious smokey flavour before you put the Caillette in your BBQ. Let them cook until they reach a core temperature of 70°C (160°F).
Have a nice meal! I served them with braised purple carrots and parsnip.