Thursday, September 24, 2015

Meatballs

We ran out of store-bought meatballs a while back, and had nothing with which to eat our spaghetti sauce. I decided to put together some meatballs of our own to put in the freezer. The recipe that I liked the best was this one by Ree Drummond. (Please click the link to view the original recipe, and let her know that she's a genius!) I didn't quite have what I needed to follow her recipe to a tee, so I adapted!

Here's how my adaptation went:
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
1 egg
1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
Splash of milk

Start out with your favorite mixing bowl. Mine happens to be this red plastic number.

















Measure out your dry ingredients, crack an egg in there and splash in a little milk.



















Add the meat, and mix it up with your hands, making sure to incorporate everything evenly. I like to use gloves for this part, so that my hands don't get yucky.

















Line a baking sheet with some wax paper, this will be landing zone for your finished meatballs. Put some more gloves on and begin rolling the meat into balls about 1" across, then place them on the wax paper lined pan.















For some reason I always end up with 30 meatballs. However many meatballs you end up with, space them out on your baking sheet so that they are not touching one another. Stash them in your freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up a bit.















In a flat bottomed skillet or frying pan (I prefer cast iron for this application) add just enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan. Apply medium heat, and when your pan is hot begin adding meatballs, a few at a time. Using tongs, turn your meatballs so that they brown on all sides.














Once brown on all sides, remove your meatballs and place them on a paper-towel lined plate. The meatballs will not be cooked through, you just need to make sure that the outside is totally browned so they will hold their shape. Leave them to sit on the paper towels to drain off any excess oil and to cool completely.













Once completely cool, you can put your meatballs into a zip-top container and stash them in your freezer until you are ready to use them. Be sure to label the bag so that you know what you have and when it was made. Nothing worse than playing "Guess What I Found in the Freezer." Ick! When you are ready to use your meatballs there are two methods that I have used with great success. First, you can put your meatballs on a baking sheet, or a baking rack with a foil-lined baking sheet underneath it, and bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked through, add it into your spaghetti sauce. The second option is to add the frozen meatballs directly into your sauce. Heat it until simmering, then simmer for about 20 minutes. I prefer the first method, as it produces a meatball with a firmer texture, whereas the simmering method produces a softer textured meatball.
It's all up to you, though!