Wherein Mr. Kimball channels Fonzie
The Cook's Country episode I watched last night was the quintessential case of jumping the shark. In fairness, Kimball did not denigrate the standard methods of making this dish. He discussed its American origins, then segued into presenting a slow cooker version of meatballs in tomato sauce. I wish he'd called it a crockpot because this crAckpot recipe really IS a crock! Bridget starts with a big Dutch oven, browning onions, tomato paste, and garlic with some seasonings. She puts half of it into the SC with some canned tomato. Then she adds meat, egg, and cheese to the rest and forms meatballs. No bread in there, says she, because in the SC the bread keeps absorbing liquid and causes the meatballs to fall apart. She nukes the meatballs to par-cook them and get some of their fat out. Then the meatballs join the tomato mixture in the SC and get cooked therein on high for 4-4.5 hours. WTF!!! There is zero benefit to this. She could have done everything in the one Dutch oven: use some bread in the meatballs so they aren't hockey pucks, place the raw meatballs gently into the sauce, cover, and cook on stovetop or in the oven, on low heat. After 45 min, use spoons to flip the meatballs over. Skim surface fat when finished cooking. Total cooking time maybe 2 hrs. Instead, she dirties two large pots and takes twice as long. It's not like this recipe allows for slow-cooking all day long while the cook's commuting to and from an 8-hr workday. Not to mention that the pasta must also be cooked before dinner's ready. I have been known to cook the pasta in the Dutch oven first, then drain, leave at room temp, and rinse/wipe the Dutch oven before starting the sauce in it.