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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mom's Basic Meatballs

Superbowl weekend is fast approaching.  This year we are entertaining Saturday evening for about twenty.  A couple of those guests will be staying over night to partake of our annual Superbowl party of about twenty.  As you know I have been busy painting the kitchen and now with three days until the festivities, am in high gear doing menu planning and preparing a few dishes ahead of time.  Meatballs are a hit at Superbowl parties.  One of the grocery stores has a 907 g (2 lb) box of meatballs on sale for $4.97, regular price $7.97.  This works out to $2.49 per pound at the sale price.  Homemade meat balls made by grinding your own meat using a shank roast or other cut of beef on sale can be considerably lower than that price per pound.  Unlike store bought meatballs, my homemade version contain no fillers.

meatball ingredients
I have ground beef from our last beef on the hoof purchase to use up so did not grind from a fresh cut of beef.  The price works out to $2.35 per pound across all cuts of for organic, hormone-free beef.  Hopefully this year's price will be the same!

When I make meatballs, I don't use any fillers.  Any seasonings I do use, I keep to a minimum so the meatballs can be used in a variety of dishes.  I used 4.5 lb of lean ground beef for this batch.  The binder I prefer is cold milk.  The milk tenderizes the meatballs without adding much in the way of flavour.  I used a little garlic pepper as a seasoning.  The screen on top of the mixing bowl is a splatter guard available at kitchen outlets and many department stores.  Meatballs can be fried, baked or boiled but my opinion is frying gives the best results.  I used the larger of my new Paderno EcoPan ceramic coated frypans.  My gosh, as a non-stick surface these fry pans are a dream to work with without the worry of PFOA and PTFF off-gassing of other non-stick cookware.

meatballs ready for shaping
Cold works as a great binder for ground meats because it congeals the fat in the meat.  I put the metal mixing bowl in the refrigerator to chill.  Once chilled I add the meat and any seasonings, mixing well.  Then I pour in the cold milk a little at a time until the meat sticks together.  At this point it is time to heat the fry pan and start forming the meatballs.

I use a meatball former for consistent sized meatballs.  Larger meatballs can be made by hand but you have to work quickly to prevent warming the meatballs before putting them into the fry pan.

frying the meatballs
I add just a little extra virgin olive oil to get the frying process started.  I also work in small batches in a rotation style.  Each meatball is formed then placed in the pan one at a time rather than making all the meatballs at once allowing them to warm.  Once the meatballs are browned on one side, I use a slotted wide spoon to carefully turn then then push that batch to the side of the fry pan furthest from me.  While they finish cooking, another batch is added to begin cooking.  I remove the cooked meatballs, turn the others then add a new batch.  I continue in this fashion until all the meatball mixture is used.  This may sound like a lot of work but it really is not.

meatballs ready for use
Once all of the meatballs are cooked, I allow them to cool.  I do not drain them because I am using lean ground beef and a slotted spoon so then is little to drain.  If using regular ground beef, I would recommend draining the meatballs.  At this point the meatballs are ready to be added to the desired dish, home canned or frozen for later use.

Without a lot of added seasoning the meatballs can be used in any dish ranging from soups and pastas to a wide variety of meatball appetizers.  Just pour the frozen meatballs into your slow cooker then add desired sauce and heat.  Serve right from the slow cooker for a Superbowl party.  Just add a slotted spoon and toothpicks so guests can help themselves.  I have a football theme slow cooker just perfect for this type of presentation.  I'm planning on using a honey-garlic sauce on the meatballs for the Superbowl party.

1 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Thanks for the great recipe, GG! :)