Sep 25, 2012

Delectable Meatballs

i love a good meatball as much as the next person. whether vietnamese pork meatballs, or swedish meatballs in gravy, or american italian meatballs, homemade, they are a wonderful and satisfying meal, and so pleasingly filling. sturdy, lovable, flavorful meatballs. i had not made them in quite some time due to the new nondairy diet business, however with most recipes and even most indulgences, i am finding a way to forge ahead with creative alterations to dairy recipes, as it was with these italian american meatballs.

1 lb organic ground beef or mixture of organic beef and pork
1/2 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press or minced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made by putting a slice or two of bread into the blender and chopping until they are medium fine
1 large egg
salt and pepper to taste ( i use about 2 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill)
2 tablespoons chicken stock more or less

mix together onion garlic parsley and breadcrumbs in medium mixing bowl. add in the egg. stir with large spoon to combine. add in meat, break up with your hands. add in the chicken stock to moisten as needed. mix all ingredients to combine thoroughly. once combined, begin to roll small clumps of meat into meatballs with your hands.

with many recipes there are a few secrets for success. rule number one is always use high quality ingredients. "you can't rise above your ingredients," my cooking school teacher often remarked. rule number two is pay attention to technique. the same recipe can yield woefully disparate results if technique isn't maximized. it's the thing that is often not included in the recipe, unfortunately, that really matters. for meatballs the technique is a light yet thorough hand in the mixing and forming of the balls. you can make them sort of light and tender or dense and firm depending on your technique. i try to make them as light and tender as possible. to accomplish this i mix all the ingredients together before adding the meat. i use my hands to mix in and break up the meat. it takes a bit of mixing to get everything thoroughly combined, yet not smushed together. sort of lightly clinging to the other ingredients is one way to describe it. then divide meat into 4 equal portions in the bowl. and begin rolling 6 meatballs from each of the 4 portions. lightly roll between your two hands into nice round balls. place the finished meatballs on a tray.

i like to wear surgical gloves while i mix meatballs, personal preference, which i buy at my local drugstore in a box. i use them for handling raw poultry as well. i use them also for painting to avoid lengthy cleanup and reduce oil paint and solvent exposure, and for various messy household chores. i love them and always have them on hand, just like using bare hands, only better.

i saute the meatballs in a little olive oil over medium high heat in a preheated cast iron skillet. they cook up beautifully in about 6 minutes. browning nicely on all sides. versatile, you can then simmer them in tomato sauce for 15 to 20 minutes and serve with pasta. or make a gravy and serve them like swedish meatballs. or make a meatball sub with pickled cabbage as jamie oliver does in his meals in minutes (or thirty minute meals as its known in the uk) cookbooks. delectable.