With its wealth of home-grown, quality ingredients and fine wines, the Lodi Wine Region is a haven for food-enthusiasts. Charlene Mettler (or "YaYa" as she is fondly referred to by her grandchildren) is known for bringing the family together and serving up the best local cuisine. We are proud to share our family's recipes with you!
  Holy Mole Meatballs
This is warm, wintery and spicy comfort food at its best! You can use your own favorite meatball recipe or make it easy and use prepared meatballs (we like Trader Joe's). This is a delicious Molé sauce and the chiles, chocolate and spices make a perfect pairing with a glass of Mettler Zinfandel!
For the Sauce:
2 cups chicken broth
1 thick slice day-old Challah bread, torn into pieces
2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 tomatoes, cut in half crosswise
5 tomatillos, cut in half crosswise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
½ head garlic, peeled and sliced
⅓ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

For the Meatballs
2 lbs of your favorite meatballs
Heat 2 cups chicken broth in a saucepan until it begins to simmer, about 5 minutes. Pour broth into a blender. Toast challah bread pieces and tortilla strips in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the blender with chicken broth and chiles. Allow the chiles, bread and tortillas to soak, fully submerged, in the chicken broth until softened, about 10 minutes. Blend the mixture until smooth.

Cook tomatoes and tomatillos in a dry skillet on medium-high heat until soft and blackened, 3–4 minutes per side. Add to the blender with the chile purée.

Heat olive oil in a pan and stir in onion, garlic, pecans, raisins, cumin, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice berries. Cook and stir until onions are soft and golden, 5–8 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and other whole spices; add onion mixture to the blender with the chile-tomato mixture and blend until smooth.

Pour chile purée into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chocolate, chicken broth, sugar, and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring until chocolate is melted and sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 10–15 minutes. Cook meatballs as desired and toss in sauce until well covered. Serve over rice or with toothpicks as an appetizer

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