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Meatballs Galore!

September 15, 2011

I love meat.  Unabashedly love it.  I’ve always said I could never be a vegetarian (sorry to all the vegetarians and vegans out there).  I just couldn’t do it.  No way, no how.  I grew up eating meat, and I probably will be eating it until the end.

My husband and I make spaghetti and meat sauce every now and then because it’s quick and easy to make.  One day, I thought I wanted to try and take the basics of red sauce and kick it up a notch by making home-made meatballs.  Hey, I’d seen it done on The Food Network before and it looked relatively easy.  I looked up some recipes online and it looked doable.  So, as with a lot of cooking adventures, I decided to give it a try.  And you know what?  It really is pretty darn easy.  So easy that I’ve now thrown the recipe out the door and just make it on my own, my way, with the ingredients I want, the way I want it.  And if I could, I’d give myself a pat on the back because I think it comes out pretty darn tasty!

It seems to me that a lot of recipes seem to call for a mixture of meats in order to make meatballs.  Overwhelmingly, that mixture includes ground beef, ground pork and ground veal.  Is it really necessary to have all three meats though?  It seems like a bit of overkill.  Besides, ground veal didn’t appeal to me.  I’ve only had veal as veal parmigiana, and I didn’t really like it.  So, why would I want to put it in my meatball?  So, I made the decision to cut it out!  I ended up with the combo of ground beef and ground pork.  I guess depending on the flavors and consistency you want, you can mix the ground meats in any proportion you want.  I tend to go with about 60% ground beef, and about 40% ground pork (but that’s probably because I also tend to have more ground beef on hand than ground pork).

For the most part, here’s what goes into my meatballs.  Ground beef and ground pork are thrown into a bowl, chopped up fresh parsley is added, finely minced onion, along with generous portions of salt and pepper, minced garlic, unflavored bread crumbs, two eggs, and then dried spices; oregano, basil, corriander, cumin and cayenne.  Here comes the fun part.  Take your hands and get into the mixture.  Use your hands to mix it all together so that all the ingredients are well combined, especially the ground beef and the ground pork.  It’s so dirty, but it’s also a lot of fun!

Once everything has been as well combined as you can get it, start rolling out your meatballs.  Depending on the size of meatball you’re intending to make, take the amount of meat that you need, form it into a ball, shape it between your palms and roll it and tah-dah, you have a meatball!  Now, there are 2 ways to cook your meatballs.  The healthy way is to put it on a baking sheet and throw it into the oven until it cooks.  However, I always do it the other way, but frying it i a pan.  You take a saute pan, put in a generous amount of olive oil and heat it up.  Start putting your meatballs in the pan and allowing it to cook in the oil.  As the sides are browned, roll them around so that all sides are cooked and the inside of the meatball is cooked.  You’re going to just have to go by the look and feel to determine if you think your meatballs are done.  Once they are cooked through, take them out of the pan and put them onto a paper towel lined plate.  At some point you’re going to want to have some red sauce (whether it be home made or store bought).  Put the red sauce into a pot and warm it up.  Throw your meatballs into the pot with the red sauce and allow it to soak in the flavors of the red sauce and to continue to cook all the way through.

From here, there’s a few different possibilities for your meatballs.  What I like to do is make meatball sandwiches!  We’ll get demi-baguettes or kaiser rolls or whatever type of bread you want.  Line the bread with sliced provolone cheese.  You want the cheese to act as a barrier between your meatballs and red sauce and the bread or else your bread will eventually get all soggy.  No one wants a soggy meatball sandwich that starts falling apart!  So, line your bread with provolone, throw in the meatballs and a generous helping of the delicious red sauce and then top the whole thing with shredded mozzarella cheese.  And there you have it, and picture perfect, award-winning, pat-yourself-on-the-back meatball sandwich!  It couldn’t be easier!  Home made, with your own two hands, literally!

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