Favorite meat (beef or 80/20 beef/pork combo) gently mixed with favorite seasonings (S+P, fresh garlic, Parmesan, oregano, garlic and onion powder, and herb bread crumbs). Form balls and place on baking rack over a baking pan with a little water (stops smoking) and blast in a 500F oven for 20 minutes (turning once). Then poach in tomato sauce for 2 hours. Tender, moist and amazing. The sauce is amazing too!
Made a version tonight that is pretty close to Rao's except without cheese which I do not care for. Used a 1:1:1 beef/veal/pork from Whole Foods. Had to substitute Panko as I did not have stale bread or regular breadcrumbs. Have to say, these were not nearly as good as others I have made. Heavy, and not nearly as flavorful as others I've made. The best meatball I ever made was 100% veal, 1lb meat to 2 eggs to 1 cup Contatdina seasoned breadcrumbs (no bread, milk, etc..). A healthy shake of onion powered, garlic powder, and shallot-pepper I got from the Spice House. No other liquid needs. Fried in EVOO and added to an arrabiata sauce. The meatballs were light, very flavorful, almost sweet, but not hot - a nice contrast to the bright, spicy tomato sauce. I may have to go back to that recipe, although I would still like to add some ground pork to the next batch.
Hey! I tried the meatball recipe above from mcf and it was great! Thanks for that! I am going to do it again for friends this weekend, and propose to have some "tear and share" bread rolls to go with it, containing Marmite:
1 ¼ tsp yeast
550g (1 lb 4 oz) strong white flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 ½ tsp salt
6 tsp marmite
100g (4oz) mature cheddar cheese grated.
Place ingredients into the bread machine in the order listed above. Use the Pizza dough setting 45 mins.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle 26cm x 20cm (10”x8”)
Spread marmite on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Roll the dough from the long edge to make a Swiss roll and cut into 8-10 slices. Arrange in a greased 23cm (9״) sandwich tin.
Leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size
Pre heat oven on CONVECTION 220°C
Cook for 15 minutes.
Here's more detail and a picture: http://theideaskitchen.co.uk/cook/rec...
The meatballs were probably too heavy because of the panko. The point of bread/bread crumbs is to absorb the liquid and make the meatballs tender and light. Panko is designed for getting a crispy crust on the outsides of food... not substitutable IMO.
Long ago I used to use small amounts of bread crumbs (although never store bought because they taste gross to me), but then I finally wrangled my great grandmother's (who's family was from Naples) meatball recipe out of my mother (they are the best meatballs) and found that she used a lot of bread and milk.
Since then I've done a lot of experimenting and found that a ton of high quality fresh bread torn to pieces and soaked with a little milk give me the best results (although if you make fresh bread crumbs out of the same amount of bread and still add milk, the results will be almost as good). I use double the amount for bread to meat (after all it is peasant food).
IMO, the best tip for making meatballs that I discovered was to test them before you commit to cooking them. I cook a mini meatball (the size of my thumb tip) in a skillet with a drop of OO. I then taste it and adjust the seasoning and texture and then repeat the test until my meatball is perfect. It sucks to make a whole batch and then find out you needed more salt or more bread, etc...
The simplest way to assure a moist meatball is to include a lot of vegetables. Bread and egg will hold it together. My meatballs and meatloaf have pretty much the same veggie additions as my frikadellen, which is to say onion, garlic, and coleslaw. The cabbage is unrecognizable in the finished meat, melting away while imparting moisture and sweetness. I like to slice the onion into very thin rings with a mandoline, then combine well into the meat mixture. That way they provide a scaffolding that helps the meatballs hold together well even if the meat is lean.
Normally I use just ground chuck, or a mix of ground chuck and ground turkey, but last week I tried a frikadellen version with ground pork, caraway rye, and applesauce instead of milk to moisten the bread. The slaw is a natural partner for pork. These came out very well. I added chive cream cheese, apple cider, and balsamic vinegar to the pan drippings to make a little sauce.
NO! :-) I make a recipe I eyeballed from the local famous meatball maker who won a throwdown with Bobby Flay, Mike Maroni. On the show he said, "4 eggs, I'm making a quiche inside these meatballs." Replaced my long time favorite recipe with his as I saw it and from what he disclosed:
RECIPE Maroni meatballs (my version)
1 lb ground chuck
4 lg. eggs
4 oz pecorino romano
1 cup bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup onion, grated or chopped
Mix and make meatballs the size of lg. eggs. Bake in a hot oven til browned, then add to sauce and simmer.
One thing that is not mentioned here is that you can beat your meat. (Pardon my the use of that expression).
Put the ground beef alone in the KitchenAid with the heavy beater for a minute or two. I am not sure of the chemistry, but it alters the texture so that it binds better. You will see the change as the meat gets more tacky.
I know Italian meatballs. I practically grew up on them. That said, my hands down favorite meatball recipe is one I found in Bon Appetit several years ago. I was skeptical when I read the recipe, but also intrigued so I made them and absolutely fell in love. Others have approached them skeptically when I told them the ingredients but after they try them they inevitably fall in love. They are Sicilian meatballs made w/ mild Italian sausage instead of the traditional beef, pork, veal blend (my Mom's side is Sicilian & I'd never heard of meatballs made like these). They also include pine nuts and a small amount of currants which keep them so moist and add the most subtle sweetness. Other ingredients are standard, breadcrumbs soaked in a bit of milk, Locatelli romano cheese, egg, parsley, etc. Oh, and they are baked at 450 degrees which produces a superior meatball than frying, IMHO.
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons dried currants
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, pine nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add to sauce.
Here's my favorite. Moist and tender with a great crust. Parsley and pine nuts inside provide contrasts of texture and color. I like to make really big batches so that there are always some in the freezer.
1 loaf stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 pounds ground meat (I usually mix chuck and pork shoulder)
12 eggs, beaten
12 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups Pecorino Romano, grated
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped fine
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Soak the bread cubes in water to cover for a minute. Drain and squeeze to press out excess moisture.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to incorporate. Chill for half an hour or more in the fridge. Form into 2 oz. balls. Chill again. The colder your meat mixture, the rounder the meatballs will stay.
Arrange meatballs on baking sheets and put in a 450F oven until thoroughly browned. Remove, let cool, and cook immediately or freeze.
1 lb turkey, 1 egg, 2 slices of regular bread white or wheat soaked in milk (just a minute then squeezed, then added to the meat. I like 1 teaspoon each ... fresh parsley, dried Italian seasoning, cumin, salt and pepperand worscestershire. 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 large shallot minced. I also like to add some hot sauce for some flavor. Or if making Mexican ones ... add 1 chipolte diced.
Make the meatball and chill until firm, just 30 minutes or so or longer. Pan sear in olive oil and then I like to bake, but you can continue on the stove top if adding a sauce. I like to use a base BBQ sauce, added chipoltes, honey and apple jelly. This makes a tangy sweet BBQ sauce which is great for nibbling. I use different sauces depending on what I am using it for.
I like to start with a combination of ground beef (93/7 fat ratio), ground pork, and ground veal. I put it all in a large bowl with one egg, and enough bread crumbs,or surprisingly, I also love Ritz and Salteen cracker's, just make sure you don't add too much salt since they have a good amount on them already. I use enough crushed up to cover the top of the meat mixture (I would guess around 1/2 cup maybe slightly more, it may seem like a lot, but I've noticed that they turn out really moist with out loosing their "meaty" quality. I add a half onion (small) grated, dried parsley Tbsp, and a dash or two or dried basil and oregano, and roughly a Tbsp of garlic powder. Next I add about a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and then add a small amount of milk to bind adding more until I reach a consistency I'm happy with. Then I sautee them in a pan over medium heat, browning both sides and throw them in an oven at 350 degrees until they are cooked in the center (this depends on the size of the balls you make.
Hope you enjoy!
Mine are simple and quick. I make a very moist spicy turkey meatball and then serve it with a honey BBQ glaze, they are a bit spicy but not too hot. They are great. Just easy and quick and the turkey makes it a bit healthy as would learn ground beef. I pan saute and then bake to finish. No cheese, just herbs and some condiments. Great side. These can also be made in a slow cooker on just on the stove. Take your pick.
Good for an appetizer or main course.
Last night I adapted the RAO recipe. The 2 cups of water they incorporate into the meat really intrigued me. Instead of two, I used 1 cup and 1 onion, handful of parsley and a couple of garlic, blended it all together in the blender to make 2 cups of liquid. Turned out pretty good. I did add more herbs and seasoning into my mixture. The recipe makes a very soft and light meatball which I quite like. I combined the meatballs to Giada's quick marinara sauce and it turned out great.
NIgella's recipe is outstanding. I add veal as well to the mixture and usually go with the semolina. Makes tons, use ice cream scoop sized for you, freeze and bag. Meatballs in a heartbeat for a quick tasty meal. Her sauce is yummy.
All the others recipes posted here sounds great. I've been using this recipe from epicurious for a couple of years and it turns out great. The meatballs are nice and tender. I usually pan fry them, but other reviewers of the recipe have baked them or put them right into their tomato sauce.
These italian meatballs are very moist. They don't have a lot of spices in them. But they hold their own.
1 lb. ground chuck beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 medium onion, diced very small
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 slices italian bread, crust trimmed off
Milk to soak bread
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt, pepper to taste
1. Cover bread with milk and let soak.
2. In a frying pan, heat oil, add onion and garlic and cook slowly till onion releases it juice (you want some evaporation). Remove from heat.
3. In large bowl add beef and pork. Take bread out of milk and squeeze it lightly. You don't need excessive milk. Add soaked bread, eggs, onion and garlic, oregano and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Mix together and form meatballs.
Fry in olive oil, several at a time, till browned, put in favorite sauce to continue cooking.
I really love the Italian braised meatball recipe from A16 in the link below. Scroll to the middle of the page. I have made it with turkey meat (not breast, but the dark meat ground turkey), adding a little bit of organic shortening to make up for the lower fat, and it is also excellent.
MMRuth- Please post the Swedish meatball recipe. Funny- as I was reading these posts, and the posts for the sweet n sour meatball, I was thinking of swedish meatballs. My grandmother used to make them, but I do not have a "tried and true" recipe. Would greatly appraciate it- and may add it to my Superbowl snacks- along with Das's jfried lasagna noodles. TIA
Sorry for the delay:
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 cup water
8 oz ground beef
8 oz ground lean pork
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
2 T grated yellow onion
1 egg, beaten
3 T butter (for frying)
Mix bread crumbs, cream & water, set aside for 5 minutes. Work together meets, salt, allspice & onion. Gradually add bread crumb mixture and then egg. Blend well, fry a sample and adjust for seasoning.
Shape into balls. Heat part of butter in a skillet, add meatballs when foam starts to subside. Cook over moderate heat until brown and cooked through.
This mix is very "soft" - sometimes I lightly dust the balls with flour which seems to help them keep their taste.
Served them Christmas Eve as an hors d'oeuvre - with lingonberry sauce on the side.
MM, I know that you have made the most delicious burgers in the world, Suzanne Goin's Pork, Applewood smoked bacon and chorizo sausage burgers...well, I made meatballs, essentially using this as a base but with a combo of pork and ground veal, adding breadcrumbs and egg, and they were delicious.
MMRuth--is this an older recipe? Perhaps it was written for the era where it was more typical for people to have only small ice boxes (rather than the full-blown fridges we have today) and, because they wouldn't have had room to store milk, they would just keep a small container of cream and dilute it with water when they wanted milk. I know that was a typical practice in some places a couple of generations ago. Also, I know a generation or two ago, dairy producers in the U.S. got the best price for cream, so, that's what they produced for sure. Oftentimes, they wouldn't have the facilities to produce grade A milk (for human consumption), but only grade B milk (used for making cheese, butter, etc.). In those case, the producers just sold the cream, the grade B millk, and the remaining skim milk was fed to the hogs or consumed by the family.
MMRuth, I made your Swedish meatballs today and they are just delicious. You're right, the mixture is very soft, I used your flour dusting tip. And I'll tell you the truth, I balked momentarily at frying meatballs in butter but went ahead, as I've read your posts before and trust you. My, my, they are tender and delicious. I'm taking some to a Finnish friend who no longer cooks. I understand there are some differences in cuisines but I think she'll enjoy these. I certainly am!
Many thanks to you.
My husband's grandmother came from Sweden, when she was 16, in the early 1900's. Her recipe was very similar to yours, except hers also calls for a cup of mashed potatoes. I think it also calls for rolling the meatballs in either bread crumbs or flour, as you do. Great meatballs, and I love the lingonberry preserves!
This is my favorite recipe. I use a pork-veal-beef mixture sold by my butcher, which I also use for meatloaf. I actually use the same recipe for meatloaf too except I leave out the garlic and oregano. I'm assuming the meat mixture has roughly equal portions of each.
For each pound of meat I add 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, 1/2 cup water, 1 small onion and 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, plenty of freshly ground pepper, chopped fresh oregano if I have it, 2 tsp salt, several dashes of Tabasco or other hot sauce. Mix together by hand and form into 1 1/2 " balls. Brown in olive oil and finish cooking in red gravy. This looks to be basically the same as Rao's recipe except I don't add parmesan cheese. I may try that next time.
As with meatloaf and hamburgers, you don't want to use beef that is too lean. Ground chuck (20-25% fat) is the way to go, but you could make about half of that ground sirloin if you are also using pork and veal, which is to be highly recommended (pork adds an irreplaceable sweetness, and veal assists in creating a lovely texture).
passed on to me by my wonderful brother-in-law Ken:
5 slices day-old French bread, crustless
2# ground chuck
1 c. freshly grated Parmesean
1 lg onion finely chopped
1/2 c chopped parsley
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t oregano
2 t dred basil
3 cloves garlic minced
3 T olive oil
Tear bread into pieces and whirl in processor to make 2 cup lightly packed crumbs. Place chuck in large bowl, breaking it into pieces. Sprinkle crumbs and seasonings over the chuck, lightly whisk eggs only to blend and add to meat, then mix all with your hands. Shape into 1 1/2" balls and brown, uncrowded, in a large skillet. Turn and brown all sides. Remove to a plate while you deglaze the pan with a little red wine or stock, which then goes into your sauce. Place meatballs into sauce and simmer slowly for 15 minutes.
Sometimes I toss some brown mushrooms into the processor first, then add the crumbs and the garlic, cloves, and parsley to get the flavors well mixed before adding to the meat. The mushrooms add moisture, so the meatballs are softer when cooked, and very tender. They're more like the texture of my mom's veal meatballs, which are very tender and juicy. You can sub some of the chuck with veal if you like. It's pricey, but makes a spectacular meatball.
I'm thinking major love affair with the place, although I've not been fortunate enough to ever get in or get them to answer their phone :(
here's how I'm making mine.
1 lb ground beef [85/15]
1/2 cup ground tortilla chips
1/2 cup of my just made salsa
1 yard jalepeno chopped fine
2 T fresh chopped oregano
finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1 T melted butter
2 T sour cream
1 T water
salt and pepper to taste
mix all together but not too much cause otherwise they'll go all golf ball like.
gently fry in pan with 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil.
the salsa I just made that I'll use in this recipe is:
Lot's of tomatoes
1 yard very small little red pepper it's SUPER HOT
salt and pepper
lemon juice & lime juice
2 small yard red onion
3 yard garlic cloves
2 T yard fresh cilantro
1 tsp olive oil
It's good not the best I've ever made but good.
There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on 1/18 describing a chicken meatball recipe made at Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland. I haven't tried it yet, but it's intriguing.
Name of article is
How to bring out the best in America's favorite meat
If you search for "oliveto chicken meatball" it should take you to the recipe. The Chron's website, unlike the NYT, is free with no registration...yet.
It is IF you overcook it...buffalo are strictly grass-fed...and as I understand it, it does NOT need to be cooked as thoroughly as commercial ground beef.(yuk...sorry, but with all of the e-coli and other food scares recently, I've just about given up on USDA ground beef...consider the fact that the cattle **may be** eating parts of other cattle! totally disgusting and totally unacceptable for USDA to allow us to eat that stuff and for it to even be sold!!!! <stepping down off soapbox>)
re: Ruth Lafler
I get 85% ground beef that is not at all dry and is perfect for meatballs from White Oaks Pastures (Georgia) which is 100% grass-fed operation - they are the most humane cattle ranchers I have ever come across - incredibly ethical. No feeding other cows to cows here! Or "pink slime" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wshlnR...) - gross.
You can do ethical grass-fed beef meatballs that are delish. Please don't fall back on the atrocities of grain-fed because you think grass-fed will be too dry