Traditional recipes

The Last Word On Meatballs

The Last Word On Meatballs

New cookbook features a wide variety of delicious meatball recipes

From fish to pork to vegetarian recipes, there is a meatball in here for you.

Meatballs are one of America’s most beloved foods, and as with many of the most iconic foods, they can be presented in nearly an infinite variety of iterations. Jez Felwick’s new title The Meatball Cookbook offers up a wealth of creative and delicious ways to make delicious meatballs at home.

From a rosemary and lamb meatball, to a classic spicy meatball recipe, Felwick’s new collection of recipes features the very best ways to make meatballs. A unique component of this title that you won’t find in other titles is a significant portion dedicated to fish meatballs of all sorts. Additionally, the book features vegetarian recipes for those non-meat eaters who want to try their hand at a meatball-style dish, such as this Zucchini and Asparagus Ball Recipe.

The second half of The Meatball Cookbook features complimentary sauce, dip, and condiment recipes that can be served with other meals, or as supplementary recipes to the meatball recipes contained in the book.


Last Word

The Last Word was first served at the Detroit Athletic Club, circa 1915. Created just before the start of Prohibition, likely by a bartender named Frank Fogarty, it’s one of the cocktail canon’s most successful Prohibition-era drinks.

Composed of gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime juice, the Last Word showed some staying power and appeared in Ted Saucier’s 1951 book, “Bottoms Up.” But by then, it had mostly fallen out of favor, and after World War Two, it retreated to the dusty corners of cocktails past.

After decades of being lost to history, the Last Word was one of the first pre-Prohibition drinks to lead the cocktail revival of the early aughts. Murray Stenson, then working at Seattle’s Zig Zag Café, unearthed the equal-parts classic, finding it in Saucier’s book. He shook up the drink for his customers, and the Last Word’s presence proliferated from there. Before long, the Last Word was a staple in cocktail bars across the country, revered for its heady balance of sweet, sour and herbal flavors.

The Last Word is about as close to perfect as cocktails can be. But like with many classics, creative bartenders—both of the professional and at-home variety—have found ways to create variations on the Last Word. The Paper Plane, invented by NYC barkeep Sam Ross in 2008, is a liberal take on the original that features bourbon. Other variations hew more closely to the classic recipe, but sub gin for another base spirit. Mezcal makes an earthy, savory version, while rhum agricole produces a fresh and grassy drink. Of course, the first versions were supposedly made with bathtub gin specific to the Detroit Athletic Club, so even London Dry or Old Tom gins technically stray from the original.

Whether you stick to the classic recipe or stake out on your own, this much is certain: The Last Word will leave you, um, speechless.


Meatballs Lithuanian Style, or “Kotletai”

Aah, food. Love to eat it, love to prepare it, but it confuses the heck out of me. The other day I was thinking yet again about eating out, but the same eternal question started bothering me: why go out to eat on a workday when you can make a delicious meal for a fraction of the cost and without leaving your house in under one hour? Let’s talk about this.

Don’t get me wrong. Going out to eat is a beautiful thing. Waking up on a weekend and deciding to go out for breakfast or planning out what new restaurant you will try for dinner. Meeting up with friends for an appetizer and a few drinks. It gives you a fantastic feeling of anticipation, a touch of extraordinary, a hope that maybe, just maybe you’re are more than just a simple person. But every day, after work, when I am tired and kind of starving the only thing besides food that might make me less “hangry” (hungry+angry) is the idea that I will be in my warm house in yoga pants, not dishing out fake smiles when all I want is my food. Right now. Here are a few reasons:

Since I buy food for the week, I kind of know what I have in the fridge and for how many days. It takes a bit of preplanning (like one second) and I come home already knowing what will be for dinner.

Since I make 20 thousand decisions at work during the day, deciding which restaurant to go to for dinner is a painful experience. One person wants Chinese buffet, the other wants an international ambiance, the third one wants something that is close and serves super cheap food in a super nice environment (what is cheap and what is nice? LOL), aaaaahhhh…. Most of the time I just want to eat something, and most likely it is not served in any of the discussed places.

Timewise, making a decision where to go, getting everyone in the car, driving, waiting for the order, eating and then coming home takes much longer than to make dinner at home.

Did I mention cost effectiveness? For a family of five, going out to eat can cost us half of our weekly food budget.

Okay, I can compromise on take out. Once in a while. When basketball and swimming and docs appointments get in the way and I wasn’t on top of my planning game (or didn’t want to be because let’s face it, I’m not perfect…).

I think the biggest reason, though, why I am reluctant to go out to eat versus cooking by myself is because it’s programmed in me. I grew up with my mother and grandmothers and aunts cooking at home, and going out to a restaurant was a special occasion. That was the culture. Of course, times have changed significantly, but somehow our childhood experiences stay with us. It’s as simple as that.

All right. Now that I’m done expressing my opinion about public eating establishments, how about I treat you to something goooooood, eh? Would you like a recipe of a nice dish you can make, say, on a Tuesday or Wednesday night? Of course you would!:)


Everyday meatballs

If you’d told me as a spaghett-and-meatballs loving kid that in Italy, these two things are never served together, I wouldn’t have believed you. What’s next, no pepperoni pizza, fettucine alfredo or rainbow cookies? No Italian dressing? At least we know those jars of Italian seasoning are the real deal (phew).



Don’t worry, however, I am not here to chasten you, myself or my spaghetti-and-meatballs loving kid for eating food you/we/he exactly the way you like it. Smitten Kitchen is a sanctimony-free zone. I only mentioned this because when, as an adult, I began to consider the meatball as something apart from the flavor-anchors of spaghetti and a busy marinara sauce, I realized I wanted much more out of my meatballs. I wanted them to be good enough to fly solo as a dish, whether or not there was bread, or roasted potatoes, polenta or, yes, even spaghetti on the table. And I couldn’t stop fiddling with them.


For years, I fried meatballs before cooking them through because this was the Authentic way, even though I rather hated it because it’s such a splattering mess and you always lose a chunk here or there and the meatballs are far closer to meat blobs when you’re done (unless you’re willing to deep-fry them). Plus, it made them much more of a special occasion dish and I wanted ones we could eat any old day of the week. But when I dropped my meatballs uncooked into sauce, they’d fall apart. If I made them more firm, they wouldn’t fall apart but I didn’t like them as much. And so it went, back and forth no meatballs went to waste as I puttered around with my recipe, but it was never quite right.

Last month, I had a breakthrough which I realize will not sound like anything wild, but the simple act of more than doubling the amount of egg I usually put in made a meatball that stayed together even if not fried first but that was still tender and completely amazing at the end. And now I can’t stop making them. You can serve them with anything that makes you happy — alone with a side of greens or salad, tossed with spaghetti but whatever you do, please do not do either of the following (unquestionably authentic) things: 1. Bake them “parmesan”-style the way you son likes from a local pizza place, i.e. with mozzarella and crunchy crumbs on top or 2. Find out what they taste like with a side of garlic bread or 3. Both, scooping one onto the other to form something of an open-faced meatball sub. Nothing good comes from knowing this combination exists. Trust me.

Everyday Meatballs
Generously adapted over the years from Ina Garten with some helpful tips from Luisa Weiss

Yield: 22 to 24 small (about 1.5-inch or 1.5 tablespoon) meatballs

1 pound ground meat (I use a mix of beef and pork)
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs or 1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, divided
Pinches of red pepper flakes or few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28-ounce can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes

Place meat, crumbs, milk or water, parsley, cheese (if using), 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder, eggs and half of your minced garlic in a large bowl. I like to mix all of this together with a fork, which does a good job of breaking up the eggs and chunks of meat. Form mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch meatballs and arrange on a plate. I like to let them set in the fridge for a bit — 30 minutes, if you can spare it — which helps them keep their shape.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and some pepper flakes and let sizzle until garlic is golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomatoes (beware the splatter!) and season with remaining salt. Let mixture simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes (with a thicker puree) or 20 (for crushed tomatoes, which are usually more watery), stirring occasionally.

With stove on the lowest heat possible to maintain a gentle simmer, add meatballs to sauce one by one, and cover with a lid. It will be hard but please don’t touch or move them for at least 20 minutes of the 25-minute cooking time, so that they have a chance to keep their shape. Meatballs should be fully cooked through at 25 minutes, but it cannot hurt to cut one in half to verify.

Eat however makes you happy:
— as-is.
— with spaghetti: I’ll cook it very al dente, a generous minute shy of done, reserve a little pasta water, then once the spaghetti is drained, place it back in the pot with a splash of the water and a ladle or two of the sauce beneath the meatballs and cook it together over high heat for a minute. Tip spaghetti into a large, wide bowl, add the meatballs on top. Note: If your family likes a lot of sauce with their spaghetti, you might consider making the meatballs with an extra half or whole can. Just use what you need.
— “parmesan”-ed: Place meatballs in a shallow baking dish with some of their sauce. Tear about 8 ounces mozzarella over the top and broil until melted. Finish with some parmesan, if desired, some breadcrumbs fried in a little olive oil and/or chopped parsley.
— with garlic bread (don’t do this, just don’t). [But here’s a recipe for my favorite, to make the decision more difficult.]


Instant Pot Asian Chicken Meatballs [21 Day Fix | Gluten-free | Dairy-free]

  • Author: Nancylynn
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16 meatballs 1 x
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Asian Inspired

Description

These Asian Chicken Meatballs are so quick and easy to make in the Instant Pot. Filled with gingery goodness and topped with a sweet and savory sauce, they are perfect for lunch, dinner, or an app at your next party!

Ingredients

  • Cooking oil spray
  • 1 lb ground chicken (98% fat free for WW)
  • 1 T coconut aminos
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T minced green onions
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup of matchstick carrots, diced up small
  • ¼ cup gluten free or whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp sea or Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of coconut aminos
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp coconut oil (use 1 tsp for WW)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 T finely chopped ginger
  • a dash of crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp gluten-free flour (only needed for IP cooking method) (sub arrowroot or tapioca for paleo, sub whole wheat if no other dietary restrictions)

Instructions

Using your hands, gently mix ingredients for meatballs. Begin forming the meatballs and place on a plate or tray. You should be able to make 16 meatballs total, depending on the size. You can also make smaller, cocktail size meatballs, if you wish, by using a melon baller.

Mix the ingredients for sauce, except for the flour, and set aside.

Set IP to saute and spray liberally with cooking oil. Brown meatballs in batches. If your meatballs are sticking too much, add in some coconut or olive oil.

After the meatballs are browned, deglaze the pot with some water and return the meatballs to the pot and cover with sauce. Set IP to 10 minutes. After cook time, do a 5 minute natural release.

Remove meatballs and make a slurry by mixing the flour and ¼ cup of the remaining liquid. Set instant pot to saute and add in slurry, stirring until sauce thickens.

Serve in bowls with cauli rice, rice, and/or veggies!

Bake Meatballs at 350 for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on the stove until sauce begins to thicken.

Mix meatballs with sauce and serve.

Cook on 400 for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

While meatballs are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on the stove until sauce begins to thicken.

Mix meatballs with sauce and serve.

Slow Cooker:

Add sauce and meatballs to your slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours


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About the Author


Legwold, a web editor, has written more than 700 articles for such national publications as Better Homes and Gardens and Esquire. He speaks on lefse, lutefisk and the importance of humor. Indeed, he finds that perfectionism is the oppressor that prevents perfectly capable and talented people from making an edible round of lefse. And so, he offers this poem:


Iss Called Lefse for a Purpose


O Lord it iss hard to make lefse

Dat iss perfect in every vay.

To roll dem so round and so tin

Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho--dat vill be the day!

To know lefse, ya sure, is to love it

No matter how tick, tough or dead.

And if lefse vas s pose to be yust right

Ve d call lefse yust rightse instead.


The Last Word On Meatballs - Recipes

Ok, so how incredible was Beyonce’s halftime performance last night?! I’m pretty sure I’m the 1,237,912th person in the blogosphere to mention the stellar performance of Mrs. Jay Z, but I just had to mention it again. Honestly, I’m not even an obsessed fan of Beyonce’s like most people are, but after seeing her, I think maybe I am. She’s a goddess in every sense of the word and I’m going go out on a limb here and say that it was the best halftime show I’ve ever seen, possibly that anyone has ever seen. In the four hours and fourteen minutes that was the Super Bowl, the fifteen-minute show was the ONLY period where I kept my social mouth shut, didn’t say a word, and contently watched the TV.

If only I could dance and sing like her…..

So, because I’m talking about Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance, obviously you and I both know that the Super Bowl is over. And I’m pretty sure you’re tired of hearing about dips, cookies, cakes, pigs in a blanket, chili, and anything of that nature, but lucky for you I have one more little snack/appetizer that didn’t make it into last weeks post, but was just too scrumptious not to share.

Also, lucky for you (and me!) is the fact that these are super low in fat. This is partially due to the lovely fact that I weighed myself yesterday and realized that I have packed on quite a few pounds in the last four months. So, I immediately vowed to never ever eat another morsel of fattening food until after my wedding– that is of course with the exception of Valentine’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, bridal showers, baby showers, and birthdays – oh and Mexican nights.

These start out with my favorite low-fat Italian turkey sausage, for those of you that live in the KC area look for the Scimeca’s turkey Italian sausage, it’s the absolute best and nothing else that I’ve ever tried compares even a tiny little bit. For those of you that don’t live in the KC area, make sure to get an Italian turkey sausage that is breast meat only and doesn’t have a lot of extra additives that will basically counteract the whole reason we are using turkey sausage to begin with.

Ok, so the ground turkey Italian sausage is combined with a little bit of whole-wheat breadcrumbs (gotta stick with the “health” theme here!), egg white, and salt. Little meatballs are prepared from the mixture and enveloped around a little bit of blue cheese, popped in the oven to bake and because we all know that meatballs are ALWAYS better with sauce they are then coated in a sweet and spicy raspberry balsamic glaze.

Let’s sum up the way I feel about these…

Raspberry balsamic glaze + blue cheese + turkey Italian sausage +healthy = YES PLEASE!!


What is a meatball?

Thankfully, the how of meatballs (bread or none, whole egg or yolk, raw onion or puree?), falls outside HTE’s remit. It is a Sisyphean debate. That said, we can settle on some broad rules of meatball engagement, plainly obvious dos and don’ts:

Traditional Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Meatballs must be made with pork, beef, lamb or some combination of the three. Duck, venison, pheasant and turkey (heavens above!) are not nearly fatty enough.

2. The clue is in the name. You cannot make meatballs with vegetables. Linguistically, there may be a precedent for veggie kofte and meat-free balls are eaten globally, but, plainly, a sphere of lentils and mushroom is, in its every characteristic, not a meatball.

3. Same goes for fish.

4. Meatballs are not canapés. They are not a dainty finger food.

5. Do not hide nuggets of mozzarella in them. We are not five years-old.


On tomatoes

About those cans. Obviously, there’s no comparison for fresh plum tomatoes. However, you’re likely reading this in a non-August month and the tomatoes at your local supermarket are going to lack in flavor. You need at least 10 pounds of high-quality plum tomatoes to make sauce in any significant quality. Most of the year you’re going to want to use canned.

And here comes my predicable endorsement of San Marzano tomatoes. I know some publications have asserted that “San Marzano” is just marketing. I believe that is only partially true. There’s a brand on the market called, simply, San Marzano. You might recognize it from its hand-drawn tomatoes on a white background with green trim. That’s marketing. These aren’t actually San Marzanos. In fact, most of the cans available in the U.S. whose labels read San Marzano are fake. Even some that read “D.O.P.”—Italy’s protected designation—are fraudulent. Many times the tomatoes are sent to the U.S. in unmarked cans and marketers will add the three letters to it, since they’re not bound by Italy’s rules. There are a number of ways to spot the genuine article. First of all, the tomatoes have to be whole and peeled. If they’re crushed or diced, they already fail. In addition to the D.O.P., look for the Consorzio S. Marzano seal, beneath which will be a certification number (it’ll read “No XXXXX”).

I didn’t grow up with San Marzano tomatoes. To this day, my mom uses the Tuttorosso brand , which are terrific. But I definitely can tell the difference in flavor and consistency. True San Marzano tomatoes practically disintegrate when you touch them, which makes them easy to crush by hand (nowadays I just throw them in my Ninja food processor—I’m lazy like that).

I’ve also discovered the joy of making sauce in a slow-cooker, which takes about eight hours total. If you do, I advise that during the last hour, you set it to high and remove the lid to allow some residual moisture to evaporate.


Porcupine Meatballs

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Porcupine Meatballs are an easy, budget, weeknight dinner. Tasty ground beef meatballs with onions, breadcrumbs and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

What’s not to love about Homemade Meatballs? These retro meatballs are budget friendly, delicious, and can just as easily be a Main Dish as an Appetizer Recipe.

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS

Just like Baked Spaghetti, these tasty, old fashioned meatballs are a delicious walk down memory lane with every bite. For almost a century this classic American recipe has been a delicious easy way to feed your family on a budget. Simple ingredients baked in a casserole dish, for easy clean up, this is the ultimate nostalgic weeknight dinner.

If you’ve been around a while, or just really love vintage advertising, you may recognize Porcupine Meatballs from retro Campbell’s Tomato Soup ads. They were given the funny name from the uncooked rice that puffs up while baking, making your meatballs look like they have quills.

Usually topped with a can of tomato soup or tomato sauce, Porcupine Meatballs are designed to be low cost and use everyday pantry items. And of course, what would an old fashioned recipe be without Worcestershire Sauce? It’s been a staple in beef recipes and no wonder. Just a little bit of it adds a lot of signature smoky, salty flavor so it’s an ingredient that stretches far.

This Porcupine Meatball recipe swaps out the tomato sauce for a little bit more flavorful marinara. You can use any jar of your favorite marinara or try this easy Homemade Marinara recipe. We always keep a few batches in the freezer for recipes like these Porcupine Meatballs.

Another traditional ingredient that was swapped out in this recipe is onion mix. Instead of the dry seasoning mix, this Porcupine Meatballs recipe uses fresh onions and garlic plus dried spices. It gives so much more flavor and also makes it easier to substitute or swap out spices to adjust to your taste.

These hearty Porcupine Meatballs are delicious served over Mashed Potatoes or White Rice. You want a starchy side to soak up every bite of the extra sauce. To round out this inexpensive old fashioned dinner serve with simple side of seasonal vegetables like Sautéed Green Beans.
EASY SIDE DISH RECIPES:


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