Monday, September 13, 2010

Meatball Success

little j likes meatballs. Actually, we all like meatballs. Accordingly I try to make them from time to time but have very little success. Until tonight, that is. There are a few things that I have learned need to be included: egg, parsley, white bread soaked in milk or buttermilk, grated Parmesan, and one special ingredient that may surprise you (see recipe). Let me reiterate a very important ingredient: WHITE BREAD. The fluffier (read: cheaper) the better. Why then is it so difficult to produce a good meatball?

Well, frying produces a nice crisp exterior, but the inside may or may not be done and they may or may not fall apart. The oven seems like a better method, but what really counts there is the size: too big and they don't cook through, too small and they dry up and fall apart.

I've been thinking about making meatball subs for a couple of days and this was a good time since I picked little j up at 3:30 and she was sitting in the kitchen doing homework while I had plenty of time to cook.

After consulting my various recipes and looking up a couple of new ones, I knew what I had to do. And, according to the Js, they were the best meatballs I had ever made. I have two minor regrets: 1) I used only beef and the next time I would use half beef and half pork or some variation thereof; 2) I didn't make my own sauce, but that's for another day since I am already comfortable with making sauce.

That Girl's Meatballs

2 slices white bread, crusts removed
milk or buttermilk (I prefer the latter)
1 pound ground beef (not too lean) or 1/2 beef and 1/2 ground pork
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray or lightly oil rimmed baking sheet.

Tear bread into bite-sized pieces and place in bowl. Add just enough milk or buttermilk to cover and let stand at least 5 minutes. Place beef (and pork, if using) in a medium bowl. Add Parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley, egg, and nutmeg. Squeeze excess moisture from bread; it will still be damp, but not soggy. Mix all ingredients with fork or hands.

Form mixture into golf-ball sized balls, a scant 1/4 cup, and place on prepared baking sheet. You should have approximately 18 meatballs.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. You can check with a bamboo skewer, the meatballs should hold together.

At this point the meatballs are done and can be added to sauce or served as is. You could also make the meatballs a bit smaller to serve as hors d'oeuvres. In that case, reduce the cooking time.


Wild Cayuse Creek said...

This sounds so yum that I'm going to have to try it.

What if you used Italian pork sausage and beef, like how S makes her lasagna?

That Girl said...

I was thinking about Italian pork sausage, and I think that would be good as well. I sort of think it depends on what flavors you want to bring out. The other option would be to use a combination of beef, pork, and veal (although I know veal is not always a popular choice).

Sally HP said...

Yum! I never liked Meatball subs until living in Mass where there were so many Italian restaurants, and I realized it was because I'd never had 'real' meatballs. Oh, so good! Thanks for the recipe, I'll have to try it!