Monday, August 23, 2010

Meatballs & red sauce

I love reading other peoples food blogs, I gain so much inspiration from seeing what everyone else out there is making. Meatballs were inspired by Jenn over at Jenn's Food Journey. Jenn makes delicious things, is a grilling guru and an all around great person. Check out her blog, you'll be glad you did.

I don't know why I don't make meatballs more often. These were a major hit, the little Witch ate 3 - which is saying a LOT! I had them leftover for lunch and they were fantastic, and this is coming from the queen of leftover hatred! They come together relatively quickly and make a weeknight dinner feel special. Meatballs will be making more appearances around here, that's for sure!

I sautee my onions and garlic before adding them to the meat mixture. Since these balls are on the smaller side they don't cook as long, and raw onions and garlic wouldn't have enough cooking time to lose their pungency. I also like the added flavors I get from browning them first, then deglazing with a splash of wine. The wine adds a nice acidity and allows all those yummy browned bits to end up in your meatball, where they belong.

The size of the meatballs is a personal preference. I've made large ones & small ones. The small ones seem to be our favorite, you get more yummy browned outside goodness with the small ones. And they fit nicely on a sub roll, too.

Meatballs & red sauce

makes 4 servings, 5 balls each
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 onion diced
4-5 cloves garlic minced
1/4 c bread crumbs
2-3 T milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
4 sprigs fresh oregano, 2 sprigs minced, 2 left whole
2 T white wine
kosher salt & pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T olive oil

Dice the onions and mince garlic first. Heat a large non reactive skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and once hot, add the onions. Cook onions about 3-4 minutes then add the garlic, stirring well. Once the onions and garlic lose their raw smell and start to brown, deglaze the pan with the white wine. Scrape the bits of fond up off the bottom of the pan. Remove the onions & garlic from the pan and allow to cool slightly.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: A non reactive pan is either stainless steel or non stick. Reactive would be cast iron or aluminum. Because these metals are untreated by teflon or enamel (like Le Crueset) it will have a chemical reaction to the acid in the tomatoes, wine or anything acidic. It causes the dish to have a metallic, off flavor. If you're unsure about your pan please ask the Kitchen Witch on facebook or in the comments, she's happy to help!*~*

Combine the bread crumbs with the milk and allow to absorb for 5 minutes, while onions are cooling.

In a mixing bowl combine the ground beef, broken up with fingers for ease of mixing, with the egg, 3/4 of the cooled onions and garlic, soaked breadcrumbs, Parmesan, minced oregano, about 1/2 t kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Mix together well trying not to compress the meat too much. I find that using my fingers in a whisking motion helps keep things light and not compressed. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed form into balls. I used a cookie scoop to make smaller 1 oz size meatballs, perfect for sandwiches or pasta topping.

Cook meatballs in the same pan that the onions and garlic was cooked in. Heat pan and place meatballs in a circle. Allow to cook on medium heat until bottoms are browned. Turn meatballs 2-3 times for even browning.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: It is difficult to keep the round shape when pan frying meatballs, therefore if you desire you can bake them in the oven. In a 400 oven bake meatballs until golden browned and internal temperature is 175.~*~

In a blender combine the can of diced tomatoes, leaves of remaining oregano sprigs and remaining onions and garlic. Blend until smooth.

When meatballs are about 80% cooked remove from the pan. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan, deglazing and scraping any bits up from the bottom. Put the meatballs back into the pan, cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Serve on sliced bread for a sandwich or over cooked pasta.
NOTE: This does not make a lot of red sauce, its really more suited for sandwiches than pasta. If serving with pasta the Witch recommends doubling the sauce recipe.

Nutrition Facts
provided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
4 Servings, 5 meatballs each
Amount Per Serving
Calories 428.5
Total Fat 30.5 g
Saturated Fat 11.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 13.9 g
Cholesterol 143.7 mg
Sodium 906.2 mg
Potassium 456.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Sugars 2.0 g
Protein 26.1 g


StephenC said...

I'm with you in enjoying the inspiration that comes from all our blogging buddies. I love meatballs. I especially enjoy making huge ones (baseball size) which I roast in the oven. You and others give me so many ideas I may have to start eating 5 or 6 meals a day.

Yenta Mary said...

Ya know, I don't make meatballs very often either, and Jeremy ADORES them! Gotta try this myself, now ... :)

Ananda Rajashekar said...

Loved the pic of pasta with meat balls...great recipe suPer yum...well Andrea you know am the queen of left overs hehe....coz am such a lazy bum can't cook every day :D

The Blue Faerie said...

Wow, the meatball recipe is actually almost exactly what I use for meatloaf! Yummy!

Good to find another kitchen witch in the neighborhood! :)

Jenn said...

I love that I can inspire others! Thanks so much for the kind words :)
Your I mean meatballs of course.. look wonderful! I'd love a big, and when I say big, I mean HUGE bowl of them right now!!

Scuttleboose said...

This looks delicious! My husband loves meatballs - perhaps he can make this recipe *for* me! :)

George said...

Looks awesome. And lots of great tips in this post.

Becky said...

Thanks for the tip about the sauce - I'm gonna have it over pasta, so will double the tomatoes. And thanks for the clarification on the "non-reactive pan!" Making this tonight, will letyou know how it is :)

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