11 September, 2008

Making Meatballs

Meatballs. Seems like I've been making them my entire life - they were one of the first things I ever learned to cook. I make them pretty much the same way my Italian grandmother used to - some of this, a little of that - but I recently went through the recipe slowly and somewhat carefully, measuring out what I used, so I could write down an actual recipe.

Start with one pound each of ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork. the pork and veal usually have enough fat that you can use 90% lean ground beef if you want. You may also substitute ground turkey for some of the meat, or even ground chicken if you prefer.

Add half a cup of grated Italian cheese (parmesan, romano, asiago, or similar - feel free to use a mix of them if you prefer) and a cup each of finely minced onion and green bell pepper. Mix this all well with your hands.

Add two eggs to the meat mixture. Break the yolks with a fork and then work the eggs into the meat by hand, just like you did with the cheese, onions, and pepper.

Fresh bread crumbs are the best for meatballs. Use a grater and make about four cups of crumbs by rubbing some day-old bread against the large cutting surface of your grater. I happened to have some leftover hot dog rolls in the breadbox, so that's what I used (it took four or five of them to make four cups of crumbs. )

When your crumbs are ready, dump them into the bowl with the meat mixture. Add seasonings: one or two teaspoons of salt, a quarter cup of dried "Italian Seasoning" (a pre-packaged blend of dried herbs that usually includes parsley, oregano, marjoram, basil, and rosemary) and the secret ingredient: a tablespoon of nutmeg!

Work the crumbs and seasonings into the meat mixture by kneading it with your hands until well-combined and smooth.

Pinch off portions of the meat mixture and roll between your palms to make meatballs. To ensure consistent size, I like to use a portion scoop to pick up the meat.

Tip: Scoops are available from kitchen and restaurant supply stores in various sizes ranging from a tablespoon to a cup or more. I use them for dropping dough of all kinds (cookies, dumplings, fritters, etc.) as well as portion control, making melon balls, and more. And nothing is easier for measuring out shortening.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet or frying pan and add the meatballs to the pan. Fry over medium heat , turning them frequently to brown on all sides. Then cover the pan and allow them to fry and steam about 15 minutes, or until done.

This recipe makes about 36 inch-and-a-half meatballs.


Cajun Chef Ryan said...

Hey Dave!

You got the right ratio, same that I use with 1 lb each of beef, veal and pork. Can never go wrong with that combo of meats for a flavorful, moist and tasty meatball!


Dave said...

Meatballs are a universal language. =)

Michele said...

We must be on the same wavelength. I made meatballs on Saturday. Very similar to yours except that I drop mine directly into the sauce to cook. I've been eating leftovers all week for lunch. Meatballs are food for the soul.:-)

Anonymous said...

You have a great meatball recipe there. I'm making them tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

The recipe sounds droolworthy. Now I need to get me one of those scoopers. Sounds like it makes the whole thing so easy.