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Juicy meatballs?

mariacarmen Jul 29, 2007 06:20 PM

How do you ensure a juicy meatball? i'm thinking of making ground lamb meatballs, with a nice yogurt/cucumber sauce, maybe some dilled fava beans with rice, warm pita bread, but i don't want the meatballs to be in a sauce per se - cooked in a sauce; maybe to put in the pita with the yogurt/cucumber sauce? how can i ensure they don't dry out on the inside?

  1. k
    katecm Jul 30, 2007 08:06 AM

    Mixing very finely raw chopped mushrooms into any meat keeps it very moist because the mushrooms sweat as they are cooked.

    1 Reply
    1. re: katecm
      mariacarmen Jul 30, 2007 10:06 AM

      all great ideas. i'll try them all. thanks!

    2. jfood Jul 30, 2007 03:54 AM

      The Rao recipe for meatballs adds 1 cup of water per pound of meat mixture. sounds strange butthe meat absorbs the water and the end results are fantastic. there is a bunch of threads on this topic.

      likewise there are thread on the water-burger with manyof us adding between 1/4-1/2 cup of water to beef in making our hamburgers.

      so to answer you question jfood would add water to the meat, blend well with your hands and make the meatballs and enjoy.

      1. Romanmk Jul 29, 2007 10:47 PM

        These meatballs are phenomenal! They have always turned out moist for me except when using ground turkey breast. It's rare for me to repeat recipes like I have with this one. Paraphrased from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless.

        Into the food processor.
        3 slices bacon in pieces
        1 garlic clove

        Process until finely chopped.

        Then add.
        2 eggs
        1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (about 3 slices of bread)
        1 teaspoon salt
        1 1/4 pounds ground pork or beef/turkey/chicken/lamb
        1/2 cup chopped mint or parsley/thyme/basil/sage

        Pulse until just combined.
        Bake 350 degrees with a little tomato sauce poured over for 15 or 20 minutes.
        Thin sauce with broth or water.

        1. e
          embee Jul 29, 2007 08:04 PM

          One reliable method is to use a "panade", a paste of white bread mixed with milk or cream. This sounds gross, but it works beautifully. Take a couple of regular slices of white bread or something similar. Cut off the crusts, shred it into a bowl, mix in a few tablespoons of milk or cream, and mash it into a uniform paste. Drop lumps of meat on top, season to taste, and gently combine it all with your fingers. Don't compress the mixture if you aren't making kebabs.

          4 Replies
          1. re: embee
            Jesdamala Jul 29, 2007 08:07 PM

            This works! This is how I make meatballs! Soak bead in milk! Add to mixture!
            Also, sparkling water or fizzy water works, but I prefer the milk!

            1. re: Jesdamala
              embee Jul 29, 2007 08:24 PM

              Good point. If you happen to be kosher, use challah and substitute seltzer for the milk.

              1. re: embee
                slowfoodgrrl Jul 30, 2007 06:49 AM

                The milk-with-bread-crumb technique is what my Italian great grandmother did for decades. She also didn't handle the meatballs excessively, according to my dad.

                It probably also helped that she browned the meatballs in oil before putting them into a vat of sauce. How are you cooking yours? Grill? Broil? Gotta watch them more closely if not going into sauce.

                1. re: slowfoodgrrl
                  Jesdamala Jul 30, 2007 07:48 AM

                  Once I mix the meat/bread soaked in milk/seasonings/parmesan/herbs/whatever I am tossing in...gently as possible...I shape into balls and lightly brown in olive oil all over. A bit time consuming...but hey, it truly works! Then, I do cover with sauce and simmer gently until cooked/finished. They are always but always moist and tender! Before converting to milk I went the seltzer route.
                  I use fresh bread crumbs, but would use dry in a pinch. I am not fussy about the bread, whatever is around!

          2. chef chicklet Jul 29, 2007 07:51 PM

            Well this is probably sacrilegious but I use turkey. I add broth, light bread crumbs-alot.
            I can't stop eating them.They are just full of flavor, garlic onion,parsley, and delicious.
            A little sauce and they're even better, a meal.Make them small, and use broth.Season well.

            1. a
              AMFM Jul 29, 2007 06:37 PM

              don't know for certain and they are a different kind of meatball (for spaghetti) but the ina garten version from her barefoot contessa family style which i love she say's comes originally from rao's and that they add water to the meatball mixture - 1/4 cup warm water in that particular recipe - specifically to keep the meatballs moist.

              1 Reply
              1. re: AMFM
                AMFM Jul 29, 2007 06:41 PM

                oh - i was wrong. 3/4 cup.

              2. b
                BarbDwyer Jul 29, 2007 06:36 PM

                I have made great lamb burgers with sour cream, grated sweet onion, garlic, cracked black pepper and fresh dill. I'm sure the same would be just as delicious in the form of meatballs!

                1 Reply
                1. re: BarbDwyer
                  mariacarmen Jul 29, 2007 06:39 PM

                  sour cream - what a great idea! thanks! thanks to all suggestions so far . ..

                2. s
                  smtucker Jul 29, 2007 06:26 PM

                  If you want meatballs that are juicy in the middle, don't over-cook them. Easier said, than done, sometimes. I highly recommend using a melon baller, or some other measuring device that ensures that each meatball is the same size. To learn what the timing should be, create one meatball, and then cook until you think it is done [timing the process.] Eat. This is a great opportunity to adjust both the seasoning and the timing.

                  I love lamb-balls. And the tszaikits sounds marvelous as well.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: smtucker
                    mariacarmen Jul 29, 2007 06:30 PM

                    good idea - that about the tasting! thanks. i've heard that soaking ground meat in milk is actually a good way to tenderize the meat - it's an italian trick. wonder if it will work with lamb? better just try it!

                    1. re: mariacarmen
                      TonyO Jul 29, 2007 06:34 PM

                      Add water to the meatball mixture. Sounds simple, is simple, and it works !

                      1. re: TonyO
                        itryalot Jul 30, 2007 07:05 AM

                        Ditto. I know in hamburges, some people even put a small ice cube in the middle to keep it rare and juicy.

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