Wednesday, November 26, 2008
That's a spicy meat-a-ball... from the fjords.
Dear Tricia, My only problem in the kitchen is that dishes won't wash themselves... Blargh!!! How about a recipe for meatballs that don't turn out like hard balls of sawdust?
Have you ever wanted to dress up like a member of Abba while making meatballs, just because it gives it that extra Swedish feel? No? Oh. Neither did I. Just checking.
I don’t have a favorite meatball recipe, because any meatball recipe can be adjusted to make it moister and less sawdust-y. There are 3 great tricks:
First of all, don’t use just ground beef. If you have the extra cash, get some ground veal in there, and some ground pork. If your recipe calls for a pound of beef, use 1/3 pound beef, 1/3 pound, veal, and 1/3 pound pork. Trust me; this will make a huge difference.
Second, don’t use dried breadcrumbs, use fresh. If you have a food processor, just pulse some bread slices without the crusts. If you don’t have a food processor, you have a couple of options. You can either cut or tear up the bread into small pieces, or you can borrow a food processor from your neighbors that are about to get a divorce: I promise you they registered for a food processor at their wedding, and they’ve never used it. Chances are, they’ll forget you have it, and you can totally score a sweet piece of machinery. Then you can let me borrow it.
Third, if your recipe doesn’t call for grated parmesan cheese, add some. Add about a quarter cup for every pound of meat. Grate your own... don't use the fake stuff in the green jar. Again, it'll make a huge difference in the sawdust comparisons.
For the cooking process, fill a hot pan about a 1/4'” with olive oil cook the meatballs on medium-high heat, just enough to give them a dark brown color and 2 sides. After they are browned on both sides, finish cooking them in your sauce on medium heat for about 20 minutes. If you are making your own sauce, add the meatballs at the end of your sauce-creating when you’ve gotten the flavor of sauce that you wanted. If you’re using sauce out of a jar (Hey, I don’t judge.) let it get hot before you add the meatballs.
For some good recipes, I’m a huge fan of Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network,) and epicurious.com has great recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit, all ranked by readers, so you can pick the best one. Go rock out with your meatballs out.