Chorizo and Ricotta Meatballs
PICKLED RED ONIONS:
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 6 allspice berries, plus a pinch of ground allspice
- 6 whole cloves, plus a pinch of ground cloves
- One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
- 2 1/2 pounds red onions, julienned
- 10 ancho chiles
- 10 guajillo chiles
- 20 arbol chiles
- Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 white onion
- 2 cups torn bread
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or coins, such as Valrhona Coeur de Guanaja
- Chicken stock, for pureeing
CHORIZO AND RICOTTA MEATBALLS:
For the pickled red onions: Combine the sugar, white vinegar, cider vinegar, salt, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, celery seeds, turmeric, allspice, cloves and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pack the red onions into jars or place them in a nonreactive bowl and cover with hot pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the mole sauce: Stem and seed the ancho, guajillo and arbol chiles. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the chiles to crisp and toast the skin. Remove the chiles and set aside. Add the cloves, garlic, cinnamon and onion to the pot and fry until brown. Remove and hold with the chiles. Add the bread, peanuts and sesame seeds and fry until brown. Return all the fried ingredients to the pot and stir in the chocolate. Transfer to a blender and puree, adding enough chicken stock to thin to a smooth paste. Season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs: With your fingers, mix together the pork, ricotta, salt, parsley, garlic, smoked paprika, sambal oelek and egg in a bowl. Take care not to knead the meat or overmix. When everything is incorporated, roll into 2 1/2-ounce balls.
Set the meatballs on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the mole sauce to a saucepan and set over low heat to heat through.