Low Carb Pork and Beef Polpette Burgers: so quick and easy that you will want to make them all the time.
So, I hear you ask, what on earth are polpette ?
They are an Italian sort-of meat patties, sometimes incorrectly referred to as meatballs, which are usually fried and served with a side salad or maybe mashed potatoes. Traditionally, polpette contain bread, milk, boiled potatoes and breadcrumbs, as well as meat, egg and seasoning. Where meatballs are small and ball-like, polpette are bigger, rounder and flatter, with a slight dome. I made them the traditional Italian way for many years, but with the original recipe having way too many carbs, I had to re-invented them to make them ketogenic friendly. And I think they actually taste better this way.
I bought the minced pork and beef from my local butcher in Italy, who also added some lovely pancetta fat for me. This combination really does make the polpette super tasty, and I highly recommend it.
Pancetta or bacon?
Both pancetta and bacon come from pork bellies (although you can also buy bacon from the back, sides and neck), the difference lies in the way they are prepared and cured. Pancetta can be rolled, which looks like salami slices with alternate circles of meat and fat, or flat, which is a slab of fat with the meat and rind on one side. I find Italian pancetta much nicer and more versatile than bacon, but it’s a matter of preference.
I must emphasise that pancetta fat is 100% fat, no meat involved. It is NOT the same as drippings collected during the cooking process.
I totally love this low carb polpette version, not only because they are so nice, but because they literally take no time at all to prepare and cook. You just put everything in one bowl, mix, rest and cook. Easy peasy.
With the additional fat, they are quite filling, but because I like to make them fairly small, I served two per portion on top of a few green beans (I simply boiled them in salted water for a couple of minutes, then tossed them in a bit of coconut oil, added salt and pepper and that’s it!). Then I added some tomatoes and cucumbers on the side – just because my garden is bursting with them right now – but you don’t have to.
My carb threshold is pretty high, so I can eat a variety of veggies that would not normally be ideal on a very low carb diet and I still remain in ketosis. This meal is low carb even with the green beans and salad, but if you want to restrict the carbs even more, simply replace the green beans with spinach or kale or my cauliflower mash and you’re done.
- 300g pork and beef meat (minced)
- 100g pancetta fat (minced - you can use unsmoked bacon fat instead)
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (freshly grated - you can use similar hard cheese instead of Parmesan)
- 50g ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons organic flaxseed meal
- 1 egg (large - or 2 small)
- 2 pinches black pepper
- 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
- 2 pinches fine Himalayan pink salt (U.S. option HERE)
- 2 pinches paprika
- (optional) sugar free mayonnaise (U.S. option HERE) This is the brand I use a sit's the best ever, plus it's virtually zero carbs!
- (optional) capers
- in a large bowl, whisk the egg manually until slightly frothy, then add the rest of the ingredients.
- mix well with a spatula and then by hand, squeezing the mixture through your fingers several times so that everything becomes well blended.
- cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for a few hours.
- take the bowl out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
- scoop up some mixture and form a ball using the palm of your hands, then flatten slightly. I like my polpette to be mini in size, but you can do whatever size you prefer. remember that they will shrink during cooking.
- grill for a few minutes each side until nicely browned and serve, topped with a sugar-free mayonnaise and capers garnish.
Fry them if you prefer.
You can prepare the mix up to 1 day in advance.
Metric kitchen scales are an inexpensive yet invaluable gadget to enable accurate measurement of ingredients. Store them upright in a cupboard or over your worktop and they'll only take up a tiny bit of space. Click HERE for the ones I use (UK Link). For U.S. option click HERE.
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