Going Mad Over Meatballs — Chopped After Hours

Faced with the ingredients lamb shanks, fresh ginger, baby leeks and one outlier, creme brulee, the Chopped judges have 30 minutes to make a meatball dish on After Hours.
Show: Chopped
Chopped After Hours

After Hours: Meatball Madness 10:20

Geoffrey, Amanda and Scott create meatballs with lamb and creme brulee.

Photo by: David Lang ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

David Lang, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

When you think of the word "meatballs," what comes to mind? It's probably something different for everyone: It could be spaghetti and meatballs or Swedish meatballs, a meatball grinder or meatballs made with something other than beef or pork. On tonight's episode of Chopped, the chefs face cooking meatballs out of their mystery baskets in every round. And the Chopped judges decided to get in on the fun, too, taking on the appetizer basket from the show on After Hours.

Faced with the ingredients lamb shanks, fresh ginger, baby leeks and one outlier, creme brulee, the judges have 30 minutes to make a meatball dish, but each one takes a very different direction. "We have no choice but to grind this stuff," says Scott about the lamb shanks, which can take a long time to cook. But he turns on a dime when it comes time to cook, deciding to braise the lamb shanks to make a ragu with vegetarian "meatballs" made out of spinach, leeks and ricotta.

"Still not a meatball, but whatever," Ted tells Scott about his decision to make "vegetarian meatballs." But in the end the judges deem the reversal to have been successful. "This grabs all the flavor in the sauce," Amanda says about the meatballs. She, on the other hand, lets one ingredient in particular, the creme brulee, speak to her. She says it told her to "go a little curry on this." And her result is a deeply flavored dish. Geoffrey decides to make a meatball grinder on a baguette that he layers with feta-flecked lamb meatballs and chipotle grilled leeks. His special secret is to "put a tablespoon of powdered gelatin" in the meatball mix to ensure it is moist. "I did learn something today!" exclaims Amanda. Even veteran chefs can teach each other something!

Watch the video above and browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider's look at the cooking.

Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this basket: What would you make out of lamb shanks, fresh ginger, baby leeks and creme brulee?

Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the Web-exclusive battles online.

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