Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

February 28, 2013

Mad for meatballs: Make, freeze, have them on hand

I love meatballs. They can be a bit fussy to make, but that is offset by preparing a really big batch and having them on hand. It is wonderful to be in a rush to get dinner on the table and simply take the homemade meatballs from the freezer and assemble your dinner.

Working with ground meat allows the cook to experiment with different meats in the same recipe. I typically use a ground turkey breast/ground veal/ ground beef blend. You should use the ground meat you favor and can acquire. Use all of one meat, such as ground beef, or experiment with ground pork, venison or bison.

Many folks fry meatballs; I prefer mine baked. Frying is a messy alternative and I have trouble keeping them round and in one piece. In baking, the fat is rendered, they retain a nice round shape, they are firm and they hold together.

A final comment regarding the use of powdered spices in some of the recipes. I generally use plenty of fresh onions and garlic in my cooking. However, in these recipes, I favor dried spices to enhance the texture of the meatballs. Additionally, their small size could be hard to produce with chunky ingredients.

Try the following recipes for Italian, Swedish and Chinese Meatballs. Make the big batch and keep them on hand for speedy dinners.

Italian Meatballs

3 lbs. ground meat, (I use 1 lb. ground turkey breast, 1 lb. ground veal, and 1 lb. ground beef)

3 eggs

6 T. (1/4 c. plus 2 T.) tomato paste

3 T. red wine

1 t. salt

1/4 t.. black pepper

StrokeStyle/$ID/Japanese Dots1StrokeStyle/$ID/Japanese Dots/StrokeStyle/$ID/Japanese Dots2StrokeStyle/$ID/Japanese Dots t. garlic powder

1 t. onion powder

1 T. dried parsley

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

1 c. bread crumbs

1 c. water to soften the mixture

Place the 3 lbs. ground meat in a standing mixer to blend. Add the ingredients in order, mixing after each addition. The ground meat should be very well mixed and the meat should have a rather beaten appearance. Alternatively, mix thoroughly with your hands and use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture. Note: Hand mixing will make it difficult to get the ‘beaten” appearance.

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