Monday, September 08, 2008
Why are meatballs so good? Made right, they're tender and juicy and flavorful and, well, meaty, but there are many meatballs out there that fall flat. This recipe is part of my ongoing meatball experiment. And while they never seem to photograph well--small lumpy rounds sitting in a cauldron full of slowly cooked tomatoes--the flavors are wonderful, so I'm not complaining. This time, instead of coating the meatballs in dried breadcrumbs, which I didn't have and didn't feel like making, I just dusted them in flour to help seal in the juices when I seared them, and that worked out just fine. This made them lighter, too. Kt's Meatballs All measurements are approximate and can be adjusted to taste or what you have on hand. 2 slices of bread 1/4 c milk 1 lb ground sirloin (I used 90%, but use what you like. Ground turkey works well, too.) 1/4 c onion or shallot, grated 1/2 clove garlic, minced 2 Tbs tomato paste 1 egg 1 Tbs Italian seasoning 3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1/3 c flour olive oil for the pan 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted with basil is good) In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread and let sit for about 10 min., til the milk is soaked in. Using your hands (or a fork), mush the mixture together thoroughly. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato paste, egg, Italian seasoning, parmesan, salt and pepper, and the milk/bread mixture. Use your hands, as they'll mix it the best, but don't overwork the meat, as you don't want it to become tough. Form the meat mixture into balls about one inch large -- feel free to make them larger, which also has the benefit of making the process go faster. Pour the flour into a shallow dish, and then lightly dust each meatball with the flour, being careful not get too thick a coating. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven, and add the meatballs to sear. Gently turn them so all sides get at least lightly brown. Depending on the size of your pot, you might have to do this in two batches. When all the meatballs are browned, add them all back to the pot, and pour the tomatoes over them. Gently stir so the tomatoes mostly cover the meatballs, cover the pot, and let simmer on low for 20-30 min., stirring gently every so often so the meatballs don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Adjust the seasoning in the sauce before serving. Serve with pasta, rice, in a sandwich, or just by themselves, which is what I did tonight.