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And finally, I made a version that would not be out of place on any Jewish table in … Cuba.
A recipe developer named Cara Lyons, who must be something of a mad scientist in the kitchen, came up with an idea so bizarre it had to be great. She decided to stuff matzo balls with picadillo, a meat dish popular in Spain and Latin American countries.
Her version of picadillo, which she got from Eating Well, is closest to the type served typically in Cuba. It begins with ground turkey (the traditional version uses beef) and adds raisins, chopped green olives, onion, green onions, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and tomato paste.
The picadillo itself is delicious, but wrapping it in a matzo ball is sheer genius. She first boils it and then — more genius — bakes it. But before she puts it in the oven, she lightly dusts it with cinnamon, which brings out all of the flavors of the picadillo. Genius squared.
It isn’t what most people think of when they think of matzo balls, and you wouldn’t want to put it in soup. But it’s a great example of just how delicious a nontraditional take on a traditional dish can be.