3-way meatballs

I don’t enjoy making meatballs all that much, but we sure like eating them – it’s one of those meals that gets tested into oblivion, so that by the time 6:00 rolls around, there’s almost none left for dinner, which is okay because nobody’s very hungry for some reason. Anyway, since making them isn’t all that fun, I occasionally set aside a couple hours and make a LOT. When I do this, I usually consult five or six different cookbooks and my own memory, so I’m putting it here so that I can find it when I need it. But you’re welcome to use it too.

First, get a big bowl. Dump in two pounds of ground meat – ground beef tastes better, mixed beef and pork is cheaper. You make the call. Add a couple handfuls of bread crumbs and squooge it around. (This is a good job for kids, unless you’re the kind of paranoid germ-freak mom who would subsequently make the poor grummits scrub their hands with bleach afterward. No? Okay, just me then.) Mince an onion or two and throw that in, add two eggs, a teaspoon of salt and several turns of the pepper mill. Re-squooge.

Divide this mess into three parts.

To Part 1: add some basil, oregano, and chopped up green pepper. Voilà, Italian meatballs meat-mass.

To Part 2: add a tiny bit of nutmeg and allspice – really, I’m all about the generous, but you want to be careful here, or a certain husband will say they taste “Christmassy” – and some white pepper and worcestershire sauce. Swedish meatballs meat-mass.

To Part 3: add chopped-up green olives and minced-up serrano ham or similar. Spanish meatballs meat-mass.

Okay, now the next step is the same for all the parts, but you sure do want to keep them separate. Use one of those kicky spring-loaded ice cream scoops to shape the meat mixtures into little balls. This kind of scoop (also very good for cookie dough, but not for ice cream – for ice cream, use this kind). Put them on three separate cookie sheets, and bake them at 350°F (175°C). My scoop makes 1-inch meatballs, and they need 12-15 minutes. Bigger balls need more time. Oh, shush.

Let them cool, then put them into three clearly labeled plastic containers. Freeze two of those, use the third one up really soon.

The Italian Meatballs: add them to proper spaghetti sauce, the kind with the loads of basil that took you five hours to make. Serve with noodles.

The Swedish Meatballs: Make cream gravy and heat them very, very gently in it. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes and parsley carrots.

The Spanish Meatballs: Mince an onion and fry it in olive oil with a bay leaf and a couple of garlic toes. Add plain tomato sauce, some salt, a little sugar, and simmer for an hour. Add the meatballs and maybe half a cup of sherry and simmer some more, while the rice cooks. Serve with rice.

Song du jour of the day: Fernando, by Abba.

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4 responses to “3-way meatballs

  • amy

    I’m that mom, too. I won’t let my kids in the kitchen when there’s raw meat about. Not until it’s safely cooking and I’ve sprayed everything down. With vinegar, because bleach isn’t all that good for kids, either. My mom used to let me mix the meatball mixture with my hands when I wasn’t even old enough to go to school This horrifies me now. (I’ve also heard we’re not supposed to do this anymore because the warmth of our hands can affect the meat in a not-good way.) Of course, my father used to snitch pieces of the raw hamburger. That horrified me then. It’s amazing they got us all safely to adulthood.

    Oh, as for meatballs themselves? I like them, and I think about it, but then I always just end up browning the meat and making meat sauce, because it’s less I have to handle the raw meat, and less raw-meaty stuff to wash in scalding hot water afterwards.

    Former vegetarians never really handle meat well.

  • amarkonmywall

    Now I am SO hungry. And I happen to have a package of ground round in the frig I just bought…It never occurred to me to use a little scoop. I just figured my hands were already a mess from all that squooging…
    Whatcha knitting?

  • Elemmaciltur

    Hmmmmm….need to try these recipes.

    And “Garlic toes” for “Knoblauchzehen”? LOL, I never thought of it!

  • Melanie

    Kick swears by crushed crackers (Premium Plus here) instead of bread crumbs and his meatballs are very tasty and tender. Yours sound pretty darn good. Why not egg noodles with Swedish meatballs?

    And yes, I am too sqeamish about germs to let Ruby help with this, therefore I cannot make them when she is around because she always wants to help (she makes me pause while she runs for the stepstool).

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