While most of the school year tends to be busy, we really gear up in May and June. The kids are already in activities and then baseball starts. Two different leagues and commitments tend to have us running 6 nights or days a week and all over Calgary and beyond for games and weekend tournaments. This is when organization and menu planning is key to ensure there are no greasy food stops along the way, but instead we keep pace with healthy, quick meals filling bellies and giving everyone tons of energy for the evenings adventures. We are big fans of the cook once, get two or three unique meals out of it to help with those crazy Spring nights.
For the next month we have partnered with local business Sunterra Market to help promote their own farm pork in celebration of pork month in June. We will be creating some quick family meals using pork and accompanying store products.
With quick and easy meals our theme, for this recipe we’ve created a Vietnamese Port Meatball Banh Mi. We initially had planned on a variation of a Pork Kofta recipe, (also an easy way to use pork for a quick meal) but changed our thoughts to meatballs, because who doesn’t love a good meatball?!
This recipe can be started the night before by mixing the meatball ingredients, even making the meatballs and leaving in the refrigerator, covered and uncooked. Making the mayonnaise spread in advance also allows the flavours to enhance and hello flavour bomb.
For those on a low carb diet or keto, all the ingredients can be placed into a lettuce cup or on top of a salad using all the ingredients you have prepared for the Banh Mi’s. This recipe makes up to four dozen meatballs or 8 sandwiches. After feeding our family of four we had only about 8-10 meatballs left!
The traditional Banh Mi sandwich itself is actually a French-Vietnamese hybrid consisting of a baguette, pickled vegetables, cilantro, a spicy chili component, cooling cucumber, a spicy or garlicky sauce and a protein. These days any protein can go into one of these sandwiches creating something quite tasty. When we make ours, we confess we do not add the pickled vegetables since I am the only one who enjoys pickles of any sort, therefore we keep our vegetables crunchy and we keep everyone happy!
Did you know Sunterra Farms started over 40 years ago in Acme, Alberta. Since then they have been perfecting their pork. You can read more about Sunterra Farms and how they came to be through a conversation in Oxfordshire, England and the Pig Improvement Company (PIC) back in the 1960s by clicking on the link: Over Forty Years of Perfecting Pork
Sunterra Farms Facts:
- Sunterra Farms raises pigs in rural Alberta, producing top-quality pork that is processed at Sunterra Meats and available at Sunterra Market locations. The pork is traceable from farm to fork.
- All the pork sold in Sunterra Market comes from Sunterra Farms. Valbella processes their hams in Canmore then sends them to Sunterra Markets.
- 2 lbs ground pork
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 finely chopped green onions
- 2 stalks lemon grass, pale section, bruised & finely chopped
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp finger minced ginger
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
- pinch sea salt
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 2 radishes, julienned
- ½ cup cucumber shredded or thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
- 1 red thai chili pepper, sliced thin
- cilantro, fresh sprigs
- 2 limes, sliced into wedges
- 2 baguettes
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- Butter Lettuce
- Cooked vermicelli noodles
- For the pork meatballs: In a bowl mix together pork, basil, mint, green onions, lemongrass, fish sauce, 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce, sugar, ginger, salt and pepper. Once combined set back in fridge.
- For the spicy mayonnaise: Mix the mayonnaise, lime zest and juice, cilantro, 2 tsp chili garlic sauce and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Set back in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Prep work: In individual bowls add your carrots, radish, cucumber, jalapeno and red thai chili peppers, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
- Cut your baguettes lengthwise without cutting all the way through, and then into 4 equal pieces.
- Take your pork mixture and roll your meatballs into 1 inch balls or roughly the size of a walnut.
- Cooking the pork: Heat 1 tbsp of the sesame oil in a large cast iron or non stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook half the meatballs, turning often, for 5-9 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the second batch of meatballs in the remaining 1 tbsp of sesame oil.
- Once they are all cooked start preparing your Banh Mi.
- Make the sandwich: On each piece of baguette slather on some spicy mayonnaise. Add a few pieces of butter lettuce, 3-4 meatballs, a sprinkle of carrots, radish and cucumber. Top with cilantro, hot peppers and a squeeze of fresh lime.
- The lettuce cup: To eat as a lettuce cup, use medium size pieces of butter lettuce, add some vermicelli noodles, carrots, radish, cucumber, cilantro and hot peppers. You can add a small dollop of the mayonnaise if you wish and fresh lime juice.
- Put all the ingredients on the table allowing everyone to add more.
Bright, yet simple flavours are what make this Vietnamese Pork Meatball Banh Mi shine. We served the meatballs in a traditional Banh Mi style bun, in a lettuce cup, and the next day in a salad for lunch.
Do you enjoy Vietnamese food?! If so what are your favourite dishes?!
We are working in collaboration with Sunterra Market and they have provided the ingredients for this recipe. All opinions, views expressed and recipe development are, as always, my own.