Sunday, January 4, 2015

Recipe - Abkhazura (Meatballs)

This dish calls for wrapping the meatballs in caul fat which is...interesting.  Basically it's the membrane around the internal organs of certain animals.  I used pig's caul fat, but any is fine.  It's mostly fat and melts away, but not before imparting flavor and helping to both steam and roast the meat.

It's a bit gross to think about and look at, but in actuality, caul fat is no worse than your average sausage casing.  It smells pretty bad too.  But, it does it's job.  The meatballs were pretty awesome.  They seemed like encased meatballs.

I feel like caul fat would be really interested to wrap around my next meatloaf.  Just a thought.

As mentioned in the overview, I got mine at the Paulina meat market in Chicago.  When I asked if they had caul fat the guy kinda looked at me like "of course we have caul fat...why wouldn't we?"  He did inform me very apologetically that they did only have frozen, but I was just happy they had it.  Any butcher that works with whole animals could get this for you.  I'm not sure if they'd have it on hand or if you'd have to wait for the next pig/cow to come through.  According to what I've read online, it's often thrown away so calling ahead of when you need it is a good idea.



  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1/2 t ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 t ground cayenne
  • 1/2 t ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t savory
  • 1 T ground fenugreek (blue feenugreek would be better)
  • 2 T ground barberries
  • 1 lb. caul fat
  • vinegar (just a splash)
  • 2 T olive oil


  1. Soak the caul fat in lukewarm water with a splash of vinegar until it separates and becomes pliable. 
  2. Gently rinse very well to remove any debris and cut into four inch squares.  Choose sections that have thinner, sparser fat – nothing chunky or heavy.
  3. Run onion and garlic and meat if not ground through a meat grinder.  Combine everything except the caul fat/vinegar and olive oil.  Roll up your sleeves and do this with your hands because a spoon is a poor substitute.
  4. Form meatballs a little bigger than a golf ball and wrap each in a caul fat square.
  5. Fry in a deep pan with olive oil over low heat until fully cooked and lightly browned. 
  6. Serve with tkemali sauce for a Georgian twist, Adjika to be more Abkhazian or ketchup if you don't have either of those.
Half of these meatballs have the caul fat and half do not.

Getting ready to wrap

Cooking up


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