There is no fish in "fishkalacha," but the technique mimics one used for making "mock" gefilte fish—balls of vegetables and chicken simmered in stock. The results are quite tasty. In this update the meatballs contain breadcrumbs, which help maintain their form, and fresh herbs add a bit of complexity. The end result is essentially a dark, rich onion jam surrounding tender meatballs. Delicious on toast or, as Cipe suggests, with a baguette for ripping and dipping. —Sarah Rich
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is originally Cipe Pineles'. In the updated copy of Leave Me Alone With the Recipes, Sarah Rich revisits Cipe's meatballs and freshens them with herbs. We love her take. —The Editors
Tear bread pieces, then pulverize into crumbs in a food processor. Transfer to a small bowl and add milk. Allow to soak while doing the next steps.
Slice 3 onions into rings. Heat chicken fat or butter in deep skillet and add onions and sugar, then cook until onions begin to soften. Add a small amount of stock or water to keep them well moistened and prevent sticking as they cook down, about 10 minutes.
Dice the fourth onion finely and add to a large bowl, then mix with the ground beef, salt, pepper, soaked breadcrumbs, and parsley. The mixture should be thick enough to form easily into balls without falling apart. If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs a little at a time to reach desired thickness.
Add stock to the skillet with the onions. Bring to a simmer while forming the meat mixture into golf-ball size spheres using an ice cream scoop or spoon. Place meatballs into simmering onions, cover, and cook for 12 minutes, until done.