Recently, I was discussing the topic of corn with some of my fellow paleo blogger friends and it came up that almost all of us miss being able to eat popcorn. I, especially, used to eat popcorn a lot! It was my go to snack through all of elementary, middle and high school. Thinking back, it wasn’t so much that I loved the taste of popcorn, although I do have an affinity for anything covered in salt and butter, but rather I loved snacking. I loved that I could just snack and crunch and enjoy it for such a long time, compared to a meal or a snack that is over in 4-6 bites.
Since beginning the AIP diet almost a year and a half ago, I very rarely feel the physical need to snack unless I am away from my kitchen or a meal is taking longer than expected. The food I eat is very satiating and my blood sugar is extremely stable. That being said, there are still a few times a month where I long to snack on an emotional level. I sit down to watch a movie or a special episode of my favorite TV show and I feel like I am missing something. Obviously, I know that emotional eating can be a real problem for a lot of people and that it is always best to examine the root of these feeling rather than just give into them with paleo-ized snacks and treats. However, in my case, I know that it is simply an association issue. For many years the routine of making a bowl of popcorn and sitting down to watch TV was one I associated with fun, comfort and relaxation. Now, I still sit down to watch a TV show for fun but my fun snacking options are much more limited.
After pondering this for a few days, I decided to try and come up with a bite sized, savory snack option that still had some nutritional value but could be fun for those times where you need a fun appetizer or snack to serve.
These “paleo popcorn meatballs”, as I am terming them, are basically just deep fried meatballs. Back in a former life I would have thought that that sounded like the most unhealthy thing imaginable, but now I see some nutrient dense grass-fed ground beef, combined with grass fed gelatin and a little bit of safe starch all fried in fat rendered from the top of my bone broth. Not too bad as far as the occasional AIP snack session is concerned. Personally, I enjoyed them with a little honey mustard sauce since I have now successfully reintroduced mustard seed, but here is a list of some AIP elimination friendly sauces that would go perfectly with these popcorn meatballs as well:
Paleo Popcorn Meatballs (AIP/Paleo):
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
6 TBS Grass Fed Gelatin
3 TBS cold water
6 TBS hot water
1 Cup of Solid Cooking Fat (I used the fat from the top of my last batch of bone broth)
In a small saucepan heat your cooking fat over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, combine your ground beef with 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder. Once combined, begin to role the ground beef into small balls, smaller than an average meatball. Once all of the ground beef has been rolled into balls, take another mixing bowl and combine your tapioca flour, sea salt, garlic powder and turmeric. Then, in a smaller bowl, take your gelatin and cover it with your 3 tbs of cold water. Allow it to sit for about a minute. Then pour the hot water over top of the gelatin and stir until completely combined and liquid. Turn the cooking fat up to medium high heat. Take the meatballs and dredge them in the flour mixture, then dip them in the gelatin mixture and dredge in the flour mixture again before dropping them into the cooking fat. Repeat this process until you have enough meatballs to cover most of the bottom of the saucepan. Cook them for five minutes, using a slotted spoon to move them around and ensure even cooking. After five minutes, remove them from the saucepan with the slotted spoon and place them on a wire cooling rack. Repeat this until all of the meatballs are cooked. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce and enjoy.