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Meatballs: The September 2012 Home Cooking Dish of the Month

Welcome to the September 2012 Dish of the Month: MEATBALLS!

During the month of September we will be cooking meatballs. This doesn't mean you have to cook meatballs every night. You can cook them once, or you can try 30 versions. You can make an old favorite recipe, try a new one, or invent your own. Once you've made your meatballs, please come back here and report on your experience. Tell us about your recipe, your process, and please tell us about your outcome. And do feel free to post photos of your meatballs!

The Home Cooking Dish of the Month is fairly new, and everyone is invited to join in, even if you've never before posted on Chowhound. You can take a look at the DOTM for August here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/861003
And you can take a look at the voting thread (with the meatball landslide) here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/865191

As always, per Chowhound policy, please paraphrase any recipes that are not your own; verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

If you would like to comment on another post, please hit the "reply" in that post. If you want to make a new post about your own meatballs, please hit the "reply" in this post.

Cheers to September, and let's get cooking!

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  1. I know it is early but I did make these this afternoon
    I love Meatballs! by Rick Rodgers

    page34
    Chicken-matzah balls in vegetable soup
    I made half the recipe. I used matzah meal but followed the recipe.
    I put the chicken balls in the freezer and will use them with vegatable broth I will make during week.

    about 16 hours ago

    2 Replies
    1. re: jpr54_1

      I decided to make a small amount of chicken soup instead of the vegetable soup-
      I used celeriac,parsley root,turnip,carrots,celery,parsley,dill,onion,leek salt and pepper for the veggies and a quarter of a pullet, plus 2 chicken feet.
      These vegetables r also the ones I use for the gefilte fish stock-ordered my fish today

      1. re: jpr54_1

        the soup was delicious with the chicken meatbal-
        btw I used white meat --
        next time I will add alittle more matzah meal-

    2. I have 2 books on meatballs-

      I Love Meatballs! by Rick Rogers
      Interesting and different types of meatballs
      pork meatball sliders
      holiday meatball lsagna
      pho with beef meatballs
      spanish meatball tapaskoftas with dill
      chinese shrimp ball soup

      The Meatball Shop Cookbook by Daniel Holtzman

      1. I urge meatball makers to try making frikadellen instead (also spelled fricadellen. For the singular, omit the "n"). This is, essentially, a meatloaf mixture which is formed into patties, typically 3/4" thick, then sauteed in a little fat over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes per side.
        Pan gravy can be made from the fond, and they are good as the hot protein in a dinner, as well as being perfect on a bun as a cold or room temp sandwich.

        Mom's frikadellen always included cooked, minced cabbage. This melts away as the patties cook, adding moisture and sweetness but no identifiable cabbage taste. In a pinch, I once subbed coleslaw for the plain cabbage, and prefer the slaw. Whenever I buy or make coleslaw,
        I freeze a cup of it to thaw when next making frikadellen. I include the liquid in the meat mixture.
        Freezing breaks cell walls so the slaw melds into the meat even more thoroughly.

        I like to use a lot of vegetable in my meatloaf and meatballs. Including the panade, about as much volume as of meat. An egg per pound of meat. To help them hold together better (as would also be needed when using lean meat), I slice the onion into very thin rings on a mandoline or V-slicer. They form a matrix of strands to hold the meat mixture together as the meatballs or meatloaf cook.

        2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Greygarious,
          I'd love more details on amounts/ratios on these! I Googled a bunch of recipes, but found none that included any veg other than onion or shallots.

          When you used the left-over slaw, did you cook it before mixing into the meat?

          I really want to try these... and I want a good lot of veg in there.

          Help another greyhound lover, please?

          1. re: onrushpam

            I never measure so I can only guesstimate amounts - obviously, I'm not doing the exact same thing each time so precision is not essential. For a pound of ground beef, one egg, one slice of good bread (I usually have whole wheat or multigrain), a tbsp milk, one medium onion and a half a bell pepper, both sliced paper-thin, a liberal shake of garlic powder, a fourth of a packet of dry onion soup mix, a tsp of Kitchen Bouquet (or Gravy Master or thick soy sauce), a half tsp tomato paste, and a half cup of wilted coleslaw (either thawed frozen or nuked for a minute then allowed to cool to room temp).

            I beat the egg, add the liquids and the coleslaw, then stir in the diced bread and allow it to soak while I am slicing the onion and pepper. I mix everything together with my hands. Because there is a lot of non-meat, it takes a few minutes of mushing to get the mixture to firm up so it holds its shape when formed.

            I include chopped canned or fresh mushrooms in the mix if I happen to see them marked down at the supermarket. About a half cup in addition to the above mixture. When I make this as meatloaf rather than meatballs, I use the side of my hand to form a trench down the middle of the loaf. I fill that trench with catsup, and lay a slice of bacon along each side of it.

        2. One of my favorites is Spuntinos ....their sauce is superb too.
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          I do, however leave out the raisins.

          15 Replies
          1. re: angelsmom

            I made these with Spuntinos famous sauce that begins with a 96 ounce can of tomatoes, 13 cloves of garlic and cooks for 4 hours. As I said I did not use the raisins, but did include the pine nuts and, as always, with all their recipes......white peper only. They are baked in the oven and I strongly suggest the use of Release foil. They were great tasting and the sauce is also.
            A bit off topic, but their pork braciole is out of this world.

            1. re: angelsmom

              Raisins and pignoli are the Silcilian way to make meatballs. Growing up, my mother always made a few of her meatballs this way for my father whose parents were from Sicily. She would make them in an elongated egg shape to distinguish them from the regular meatballs. I was a picky eater, and although I liked raisins, I hated the surprise of getting one in my meatball. And though I am a far more adventurous eater than I was as a child, I still don't love raisins in my meatballs.

              1. re: roxlet

                Ok so I had to look up what pignoli is .. it's a pine nut. Interesting... I can't even imagine raisins and pine nuts being in a meatball.

                  1. re: rabaja

                    They are delicious! And it's not just Sicilians who make them this way. My mother's family from a tiny town in Campania always use raisins and lightly toasted pignoli.

                    1. re: boppiecat

                      Really? That's interesting. My mother's family was from Campagna and never made them that way -- at least until she married my father. Maybe your family knew some Sicilians!

                      There are a lot of raisins used in Sicilian cooking, supposedly an influence from North Africa. But in Sicily, I believe they mostly use currants, which are small and not as sweet as our raisins and currents.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        I use currants instead of raisins in the Spuntino recipe and everyone loves them!!

                        1. re: walker

                          I made the Spuntino recipe again but fried them, have never tried baking .. I like the browned goodness. Like I said, I use currants instead of raisins and for the pinenuts I usually brown them in a pan first but this time I didn't bother -- think it's better if I take the time to brown them.

                          I use a lot more eggs (I made 3 lbs instead of the 2 lbs of ground chuck .. I would not use lean .. and ended up using 12 eggs. Makes it moister but still holds together. I always put chopped fresh basil in my meatballs as well as the chopped parsley this recipe calls for.

                          My Italian relatives (Calabrian) always made plain (very delicious) meatballs but I now prefer this version. I do put in more currants .. 1/4 cup does not seem like enough for the 2 lbs of meat in this recipe. And, mine were lacking in salt even tho I salted when they came out of the frying pan .. would add more salt to the uncooked mixture.

                    2. re: rabaja

                      they're terrific together in dolmas, why not judiciously in meatballs? maybe the tiny dried currants (Sultanas) rather than the grapes-on-steriods that are Thompson Seedless raisins (aka Sunmaid). TS are sprayed with hormones to make them that big. Hormones, as in endocrine system interruptors.

                      1. re: toodie jane

                        In New England, if not everywhere, Sultana is synonymous with golden raisin. It is a grape, not a currant. Currants here are the quarter-inch diameter tart red berries, as in currant jelly. Dried Zante currants are from a very small grape, and are dark and tiny. When an American recipe calls for raisins, it means standard Sunmaid-type dark raisins. If it means golden raisins it will say either golden raisins or Sultanas.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          in Bolivian cooking, raisins often make an appearance in dishes using ground beef. love the combo.

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            I'm with you on this one, I love that combination!
                            I always make my meat dolmades with raisins and pine nuts.

                          2. re: Hank Hanover

                            It's delicious! It's Sicilian and it's delicious. You cannot taste the currants (or raisins, but currants are Sicilian) although they impart a very subtle sweetness. Delicious!

                    3. Lidias Sausage and Fennel Meatballs. I did not use the orange.

                      http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/de...

                      They are really delicious.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: angelsmom

                        I loved the sautéed fennel in these meatballs, by the way the fennel is missing from the posted recipe. It is 2/3 cup fennel chopped in food processor. I left out the orange zest and they were still quite sweet from the fennel. DH and I are fennel lovers so I make these often.

                        1. re: angelsmom

                          I love fennel too, and these sound great! Thanks for the note about the fennel not being in the ingredient list! Pretty big oversight.

                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                            These look delicious - thanks for posting!