Simple Meatballs

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From the depths of the blog-title trash can for this post:

Meatballs Sans Gross Flecks of Green: As a rule, I don’t really like meatballs at all, but I like them even less when they feature flecks of leafy green stuff. I don’t care if parsley or basil adds flavor – it looks nasty.

Write-These-Down-Will-You Meatballs: So named because when I made these back in October for my parents, my dad told my mom to be sure to get the recipe (he doesn’t like flecks of green in his meatballs either, I see…)

Pan-to-Oven Meatballs: A nod to the cooking method, perhaps?

All in all, the more I sit here and try to figure this out, the more I realize that I absolutely hate the word “meatball”. Seriously.

These…meatballs (that word!) are simple to make as they quickly sear in the pan and finish in the oven. If you are going to add these to a sauce, my recommendation is to take it easy on the baking time because the meat will continue to cook in the sauce and add flavor as it cooks.

Simple Meatballs

Makes about 22-24 meatballs.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Finely Crushed Quick Garlic Croutons
  • 4 Tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream – As close to room temperature as possible.
  • 3 Lbs. Meat – 1 lb. each of ground pork, ground beef (not going to lie, I use ground chuck for this, but you can go leaner if you like) and veal (if you can’t do veal, try either chicken or .5 lb each of pork and beef).
  • 1 Cup of Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano…if you use this, you might need to up the sea salt content later).
  • 1 Tsp. of Finely Ground Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • One Pint-Sized Blonde Kiddo (Optional…yet essential)

The Tools:

  • Stainless Mixing Bowls – One large and one medium size.
  • Meat Mallet
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Microplane/Grater
  • Plate – Cover with a paper towel.
  • Heavy-Bottomed Non-Stick Skillet – I take back everything I said before about non-stick skillets…
  • Tongs
  • Baking Sheet – Don’t cover this in foil.

The Action:

  • Crush the garlic croutons finely. You can do this right in the medium mixing bowl with your meat mallet. Set aside.
  • In the large mixing bowl, combine the meat with your hands. Try to do this with as little massaging as possible so as not to toughen the meat (I have no clue if this really even matters, but you know what? I’ve always heard that it does, and I am not about to chance tough meatballs.)
  • In the medium bowl, pour the heavy whipping cream over the crushed croutons and mix until the croutons are just coated. Don’t make a paste.
  • Mix the coated croutons, meat, and cheese together along with salt and a touch of pepper.
  • Using your hands (or the hands your little sous chef) form the meatballs. In terms of size, you should strive for consistency and my preference for the sake of cooking and doneness is about 1/4 cup of meat per meatball.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • On the stove top, drizzle a bit of olive oil into your pan. Don’t use too much because you are searing, not frying. There’s plenty of fat in the meat and it is ok to have brown flecks in the pan.
  • Turn the heat up to high and let the pan heat a bit. (Don’t let the oil start to smoke – that’s too hot!) Drop the meatballs in and sear until brown on all sides (or over as much of the surface and you can manage. No one’s perfect.)

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  • Remove each meatball to your plate and allow the meat to drain.
  • Once you have seared your whole batch, rub just a touch of olive oil on your baking pan and place the meatballs on the pan so that none of them are touching.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until cooked to desired doneness.

Enjoy! (Look, Ma! No green!)

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PS. Happy Birthday to Kitchenpants! The blog’s first birthday is today and it’s been quite a year. Thank you to everyone who subscribes to or follows Kitchenpants! online. Thank you, also, to the Kitchenpants! kitchen crew and tasting committee for all of your help over this year. I will be raising my glass of Rombauer to you this evening (or…maybe later this afternoon. A long run in the morning means I should have my wine early, right? Right.)

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