Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quick and Tasty Meatballs

I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of meatballs. They usually taste like overstuffed crumb balls. But, since I love hamburgers, I figured there has to be a decent meatball out there. I discovered that the trick is to just use meat! No bread crumbs, no onions, no nothing except meat, spices and a little egg white (which helps hold everything together). For those purists who claim that powdered onion and garlic are somehow beneath them, I would like to point out that I got the idea from Paul Prudhomme in his “Art of Cajun Cooking.” So hush and enjoy. What follows is a very simple recipe for making meatballs in a sauté pan. I have been using exclusively ground beef, but it would probably taste good using ground pork or veal as well. If you are using ground chicken or turkey you may as well use vegetables, for these are not actually “meat.” Sorry there is no photo, but I am currently lounging on a beach in Mexico. Ha.


One pound ground beef (not so lean, please)
½ teaspoon powdered onion
½ teaspoon powdered garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 egg white, well beaten
Olive oil for sautéing


Sautéing pan with cover (any frying pan that is deep enough and large enough with a cover will do)
Bowl for mixing ingredients
Tongs for removing meatballs
Spatula for turning meatballs

Mix together, beef onion, garlic, salt and egg white. Form into balls about the size of a ping pong ball (golf ball works, too). Meanwhile, add enough oil to the bottom of the pan to cover. Turn to medium high (high if you have a weak stove) and carefully add balls. Make sure there is enough room or do it in batches. Enough room is about ½ meatball space between meatballs and enough room around that the meatballs do not drown and steam in their own juices. Shake around a bit to prevent sticking and cover. After a few minutes look at the meatballs and make sure they are not burned. As a cautionary note, most pans are hotter in the center than on the sides and the meatballs in the center may cook or burn faster than those on the sides. If they are a bit brown, flip meatballs and recover. If they look like they are about to burn, turn the heat down and flip and recover. Depending on the size and the fat content, it takes 8 to 12 minutes to make medium to well done meat balls that are not dried out. They feel soft to the touch but not mushy. If they feel firm TAKE THEM OUT. We serve them on the side, but they can also be mixed into a sauce a few minutes before serving.



I applaud your diligence in writing from the sunny beaches of Mexico. One trick I have started to use is broiling the meatballs as opposed to flipping them. cuts cooking time down, and you dont risk them breaking.

Looking forward to a recipe for sopas or tacos from your travels.

Ira.B said...

Actually I wrote on the dull airplane and posted when we landed. I did it tonight, too. For large meatballs I think you may be right but small meatballs with no crumbs and eggwhites tend to stay together and they cook very fast when covered.