Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to Make Meatballs in a Pinch

I love meatballs and think that most meats should be available in ball form.  In fact, one of my first blogs ever wrote was tackling someone's meatball conundrum.  (Which ended up with a sweet thank you note that I also posted on the blog) I found a recipe that, though completely legit, has a few things I would adjust to make the process easier if you have limited ingredients, time, or space in your kitchen because hey, not everyone keeps fresh herbs in the house or has the time or space to sautee up a pan of meatballs. 

Here's the original recipe, published in the New York Times in 2007.  It's legit, but it's not always practical.

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil 

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 eggs

3 tablespoons olive oil.
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except olive oil by hand, using a light touch. Take a portion of meat in hand, and roll between palms to form a ball that is firmly packed but not compressed. Repeat, making each meatball about 2 inches in diameter.
2. In a large, heavy pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add meatballs in batches. Do not crowd. Brown well on bottoms before turning, or meatballs will break apart. Continue cooking until browned all over. Remove meatballs to a plate as each batch is finished. Let meatballs cool slightly; cover and refrigerate until needed.

Here's my version:

2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs (fresh is better, but out of the box will work in a pinch)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan, or 1/4 cup parmesan out of the green can
2 heaping tablespoons dried basil
2 heaping tablespoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt  or 3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon garlic powder or 2 teaspoons of already chopped garlic out of the jar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  In a small bowl, mix parmesan, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Pour a glass of wine and take a sip because wine makes everything more fun.
3.  Put beef or turkey in a large bowl and add bread crumb mixture to it.  Mix well with your hands and when everything in combined, roll meatballs in your hand about the size of a golf ball. 
4.  Spread oil on a cookie sheet (with sides is preferable) and cook in oven for about 30 minutes.  The size of your meatballs will determine when they are done, so give them a little longer if you made larger ones, or take them out earlier if you made smaller ones.

Hey, have you joined Twitter yet?  Now's the time to do it because I'll be hosting a live Twitter Party this Wednesday August 3 at 7:00 central time.  Follow whatthebleep1 and I'll solve your culinary dilemmas in live time.   Tell your friends too! 

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