Spicy Meatballs with New Mexico Gravy and Honey and Cider Collard Greens at Agave. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: Henri Hollis
Photo: Henri Hollis

Learn how to add a spicy New Mexican twist to classic meatballs

Agave’s new menu item of collard greens and meatballs is literally the most tasty dish of collard greens I have ever had. So much and so many flavors, from tomato to sweet to a momentary flash of light bitterness. Can you share this recipe with us? Thank you for sharing Atlanta’s creative deliciousness, including how we can try to make it at home! — Laura Bellinger, Atlanta

Tim Pinkham, Agave’s managing partner, was happy to provide these recipes. We’re seeing more requests for meatball recipes these days which speaks to Atlanta diners leaning toward classic comfort foods. But with chorizo and other Southwestern seasonings, these meatballs tweak the idea of comfort. The spicy New Mexico Gravy takes almost no time to make and you’ll find lots of uses for any you have left over. A quick supper of huevos rancheros anyone?

The secret to the collards is the long cooking time plus the addition of honey and apple cider vinegar. They’ll convert those who say they don’t like collards, for sure.

Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you’d like to make at home? Tell us and we’ll try to get it. We’ll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can’t answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to fromthemenu@gmail.com and put “From the menu of” and the name of restaurant in the subject line.

Agave’s Spicy Meatballs

Ground veal can be difficult to find. We tried the recipe two ways, with ground beef and also with ground chicken. Delicious both ways.

Agave’s Spicy Meatballs
  • 1 1/4 cups panko
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground veal
  • 12 ounces ground chorizo
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • New Mexico Gravy (see recipe)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together panko, Parmesan, garlic, basil, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir in veal, chorizo, eggs, half-and-half and onion. When well mixed, form into 40 equal sized balls. Arrange meat balls on prepared baking sheet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and serve immediately with Spicy Gravy. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Makes: 40

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per meatball: 99 calories (percent of calories from fat, 63), 7 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 7 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 52 milligrams cholesterol, 172 milligrams sodium.

Agave’s New Mexico Gravy

Agave’s New Mexico Gravy
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 serrano peppers, stems removed and cut in half
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Cumin, salt and pepper, to taste
  • In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat and add tomatoes, onion, peppers and garlic until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove vegetables from oil and put into the jar of a blender. Discard cooking oil. Puree vegetables until smooth, adding a little water if needed. Season to taste with cumin, salt and pepper. Makes: 4 cups

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per 1/4 cup: 83 calories (percent of calories from fat, 78), 1 gram protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 14 milligrams sodium.

Agave’s Honey and Cider Collard Greens

Agave’s Honey and Cider Collard Greens
  • 2 pounds collards, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 1 large ham hock, or 3 tablespoons ham base
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 pound apple wood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Put collards into a large saucepan or stockpot and add water to cover. Add ham hock or ham base and bay leaves and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Keep at a slow boil for one hour or until greens are tender.
  • While greens are cooking, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine bacon and onion and cook until bacon is crisp and onion has caramelized slightly, about 10 minutes. Set aside until greens are ready.
  • Remove collards from heat and discard bay leaves and ham hock, if using. Stir in bacon mixture and add honey and apple cider vinegar. Taste for seasoning including adding more honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve hot. Makes: 4 cups

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per 1/4 cup: 154 calories (percent of calories from fat, 47), 7 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 19 milligrams cholesterol, 251 milligrams sodium.

From the menu of … Agave Restaurant, 242 Boulevard SE, Atlanta. 404-588-0006, www.agaverestaurant.com

Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you’d like to make at home? Tell us and we’ll try to get it. We’ll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can’t answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to fromthemenu@gmail.com and put “From the menu of” and the name of restaurant in the subject line.

RELATED:

More recipes from metro Atlanta restaurants

Try another recipe from Agave featuring Hatch chiles

Read the AJC Fall Dining Guide: The Noodle Edition

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