by Chef Dez/Special to Black Press Media
Walking through a warehouse store the other day, a package of frozen meatballs caught my attention.
I said to my wife, “I wonder how many people actually buy these,” and a small discussion between her and I, surrounding this topic, ensued.
I love meatballs in pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups, stews, and other applications, but I would never dream of buying them premade.
There is obviously a place in the market for convenience foods, I get that.
And although my comment above was made partially in jest, I do realize that people have busy lives and making food from scratch probably does not sit high on their priority lists.
However, there is probably a percentage of the population that perhaps, just doesn’t know how to make good meatballs from scratch.
So for the culinary adventurous, and the culinary curious, I give you my “base” recipe for meatballs that can be flavoured to suit any cuisine application.
Review the recipe ingredients below and you will see that I list “1 tablespoon of dried herbs and/or spices.”
This can be any dry herb, or any dry ground spice (or a combination of both) that will suit your application. For example, if you wanted to create an Asian cuisine type meatball, I would suggest using 1 tbsp of Chinese 5-spice powder; if you wanted an Italian cuisine type meatball I would suggest using 1 tbsp of dried basil; or if an Indian cuisine type meat ball was preferred I would suggest using 1 tbsp of ground garam masala or curry powder (or a combination of both).
Can you see where I am going with this?
It’s quite simple really. Use your spice rack as myriad of flavour profile combinations; experiment and have fun.
Ground chuck, by the way, is beef but much better in flavour than the standard ground beef you buy at a grocery store. Ground chuck can be purchased from your local butcher shop and has a stronger, better beef flavour to make the best meatball possible in combination with the ground pork.
Now grab life by the meatballs and don’t ever assume that you must be taken prisoner by frozen convenience foods.
Chef Dez Meatballs for any occasion!
“Combining two different types of meat gives the meatballs more complex flavour. Customize them for any application with one tablespoon of your desired dried herbs/spices.”
1 pound (454g) ground chuck
1 pound (454g) lean ground pork
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tbsp finely crushed or minced garlic
1 tbsp dried herbs and/or spices (see column above for examples)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with baking spray and set aside (or alternatively line a baking sheet with parchment paper).
In a large bowl, combine the chuck, pork, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, herbs/spices, salt & the pepper.
Mix until thoroughly combined into a homogenous mixture. Roll bits of the mixture into small meatballs approximately 3/4 (three quarter) inch in size and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
You should have approximately 45 to 50 meatballs.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until their internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).
Place the cooked meatballs on paper towel temporarily to remove some of the fat. Add to your desired recipe application.
– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com.
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