Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meatballs

Eat Drink or Die may prove to be the end of my career. I really need to close the page, like now.

See, I couldn't ignore the meatball banner (could YOU?), so I clicked. And read about these yummy meatballs and thought of my grandmother and the meatballs she would make, and well, now I need to make meatballs too. How on earth am I going to get through all of these recipes I simply MUST make? And again with the meat?!

I plan to take plenty of guidance from Caprial's recipe, but mix in a page from Grandma's instruction. I was always a huge fan of Grandma's meatballs - you know the kind, you go to a party, there's a crock pot and a bunch of meatballs and some toothpicks? And the sauce is sweet and spicy and smoky and awesome? Well, all I can remember is grape jelly & bbq sauce (similar to this recipe) and baking the meatballs on a piece of paper bag to get rid of some of the fat. Genius.

I like the idea of sauteing the garlic and onions first, then mixing them in with the meat, and trying a baby meatball to test seasoning - how simple is that?! Of course, you know I'll be doing this with the leanest beef I can get my hands on, or ground chicken.

MEATBALLS

1/2 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 pounds ground meat

1 egg, slightly beaten (you might need two eggs; start with one and then decide on how well everything is binding)

1 cup soft white breadcrumbs

dried parsley and basil - approx 1/2 tbsp of each

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Heat a saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and cook over medium heat until the onions start to brown about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute quickly. Remove from the pan and chill. Once the onions are cold place in a large mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix well. Try not to over mix the meat. Cook off a test meatball. Adjust seasonings. Form the meatballs and place on a cookie sheet lined with a clean paper bag (yes, I use the inside side of the ones I get from grocery shopping - reuse!). Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until done - you'll have to be willing to sacrifice one of the meatballs to peek into the center.

You can also brown the meatballs in a saute pan in olive oil before baking, but I think that just adds extra fat to the mix. Since fat = flavor, I'll humor you by mentioning that you COULD do it that way. You know, if you insisted. If you decide to clog your arteries like that, you'll probably only need 10-15 minutes in the oven.

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I made the meatballs last night, and forgive my modesty, but Best. Meatballs. Ever. I even used actual beef, though it was 93% "extra" lean.

I made as directed with fresh sourdough for my breadcrumbs (I toasted first to dry it out a bit) and made a tomato sauce from scratch (which is so easy and tasty that I have no idea why I ever buy the jarred stuff).

I baked the meatballs at 375 for 10 minutes, flipped them over (onto cleaner spots on the paper bags) and baked for 10 minutes more. This recipe made around 30 good sized meatballs (think golf balls).

For the sauce, I did my "standard."

Smashed a couple of cloves of garlic and tossed into a pot with some olive oil to infuse the flavor into the oil. Then I added about a cup or so of diced yellow onion and let that all soften a bit. I added one can of stewed "Italian" tomatoes, one can of tomato sauce, half a can of tomato paste, and a glug of the cab we were drinking (Chateau St. Michele this time), let's call it a quarter cup. A sprinkling of dried herbs - I used oregano and marjoram, maybe a half tbsp of each, and a tsp or so of red pepper flakes. I tossed the lid on and let it bubble away for a while getting thick. Checking, stirring, tasting, added a tsp of sugar since it was really acidic, and three large basil leaves, ripped up into smaller pieces. Let it go for a while longer (maybe too long, it got REALLY thick), but damn it was awesome.

Once the meatballs were done I put a few into the pot of sauce and made sure they were coated. I served on a small pile of spaghetti, sprinkled with grated parmesan and then annoyed Quinn by going on and on about how good it was. See? Modest. I sent him to work today with a bunch of leftovers to make a meatball sandwich, and still have a ton left to make Swedish meatballs or something later (if I'm not in the mood for tomato sauce). I should've put them in the freezer.

1 comment:

Quinn said...

We still need to do Meatball Monday at Zare at Fly Trap some time soon.