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November 18, 2009

Stocking up: meatballs

Winter is here, and I’ve been laying in provisions almost instinctually.  (bda has accused me of stocking the freezer so I know he will eat while I am traveling, but that’s not true.  I know he’ll just order Domino’s.) I’ve made chili, I’ve made curry, and now it is time to tackle the mountain of meatballs.

approaching the pyramid

When I was a kid, I thought meatballs were gross.  That is because I was eating spheres of baked ground beef, with nothing else added.  And that is gross.

A good meatball should have lots of flavor elements, starting with some nice fat.  (I was not very surprised on the burger tour to learn that all of the burgers were 80% meat, 20% fat.) I get 85%/15% ground beef at Whole Foods.  Would I get 80%/20% if they sold it?  Probably.

To that, I add bread crumbs, eggs, onion and plenty of salt and pepper.

the flavor elements

Having a sack of homemade meatballs in the freezer is a beautiful thing.  Babies love them.  You can pretend you went to the super-tasty version of IKEA.  Throwing in some meatballs even makes jar sauce feel more special.  (You should stop eating jar sauce.  Really.  But if you still do, at least you can give yourself some homemade meatballs.)

Traditional Beef Meatballs

  • 2 lbs. 85/15 ground beef
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • salt to taste (at least 2 teaspoons)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and knead until well combined.  Roll into balls roughly 2 inches in diameter.

Heat the canola oil on medim-high heat in a large frying pan, just enough to keep the meatballs from sticking.  When the pan is hot, arrange the meatballs in the pan.  Squeeze them in tight enough that they will hold each other in place, but loosely enough that you can still turn them.

squeeze 'em in!

After one side has browned (about 2-3 minutes), begin turning the meatballs.  Turn every couple of minutes until they are browned all over.  Remove from heat; they are ready to eat.

Makes approximately 40 small meatballs.  Can be frozen for up to 6 months.

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