No. 334: Classic Meatballs

Winter is here! Well, sort of. There has been a temperature swing of at least 50 degrees this month which is incredibly confusing.

Still, there have been enough cold days to get some cute shots of the kiddos in their full winter gear.

Winter is coming

I mean, come on, how cute are those marshmallows!?

Meatball Love

I have had many meatballs in my life, I love them. I two favorite meatball recipes.

The first is from Bon Appetit who created the divine turkey-spinach meatballs that I make my family eat at least once a month. I love the lightened flavors of lemon zest, fennel, spinach and garlic that the recipe creatively employs. As a bonus, the kids adore this healthy take on a classic and I can whip up a huge batch in a short evening to eat alone, with sauce, with pasta, on buns, whatever.

The second are the albondigas con jamon at our local tapas place where I make Mr. McC take me for all major celebrations. In addition to Curate being one of the best spots in the country for tapas, Travel + Leisure named the meatballs some of the best in America. I can't deny their incredible appeal. I wish I had the recipe for them. And for Curate's killer sangria!

Classic Meatballs

I can't go around sourcing high quality ground jamon from Spain every month (and I can't afford it). And even I get tired of ground turkey meatballs after a while. So I wanted to try a new take on classic meatballs. My friends at The Kitchn had me covered.

Ingredients

Makes about 28 meatballs

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely minced Italian parsley
1 pound ground meat such as beef, pork, turkey, chicken, or veal, or a mix
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (or grated on a coarse grater) from 1 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced

To make

Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and set aside while preparing the rest of the meatball mix.

Whisk the egg in a large bowl until blended. Whisk in the salt and a generous quantity of black pepper, then whisk in the Parmesan and parsley.

Add the meat to the egg mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the egg into the ground meat. Add the onions, garlic, and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat. Mix them thoroughly into the meat with your fingers. Try not to overwork the meat; pinch the meat between your fingers rather than kneading it.

Pinch off a piece of the meat mixture and gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Continue shaping until all the meat is used.

To roast the meatballs in the oven
Arrange the meatballs spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet. Cook under the broiler for 20 to 25 minutes or bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs are done when cooked through and the outsides are browned, and when they register 165 degrees in the middle on an instant read thermometer.

To cook the meatballs in sauce
Bring a marinara sauce or other pasta sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will fit comfortably in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. The meatballs are done when they're cooked through and register 165 degrees in the middle on an instant read thermometer.

Additional Recipe Notes from The Kitchn

  • Store leftover meatballs, either on their own or in a sauce, in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave.
  • Meatballs can be shaped and kept refrigerated up to a day ahead. Arrange them in a casserole dish or on a baking sheet, but don't squish together. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Freezing uncooked meatballs: Prepare the meatballs through the shaping step. Arrange them spaced slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the meatballs to a freezer container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
  • Freezing cooked meatballs: Let the cooked meatballs cool completely, then transfer to a freezer container or bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Frozen meatballs can be thawed overnight or reheated directly from the freezer. Reheat meatballs in a simmering sauce for 10 to 15 minutes or in a warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

The results

While there are no photos (SO SORRY) these meatballs were tender and delicious. They were a great mid week comfort meal.

I'm so glad we skipped the splatter mess and just cooked them in the oven. I know that is a bit unorthodox, but it makes my hectic mama life so much easier.

My go-to will still be the spinach variety I mentioned above, mainly because it is how I get extra green stuff into the kiddos. But give this recipe a whirl!

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