Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Balls of Meat

About every couple weeks I get a craving for some delicious meatballs, and today was one of those days. Let me start by saying that my grandmother has made the best meatballs known to mankind, but it's been at least 10 years since they've made their way out of her oven. And my Mom makes damn good meatballs too, but I've tried her recipe and they never come out the way they do when she makes them. I think that's because she doesn't measure the ingredients, and just wings it from memory. That brings me to my brother, Joe. The guy can barely boil water, but somehow he has managed to almost replicate my grandmother's meatballs. And since he won't give me his recipe, although I know it pretty much only contains meatloaf mix and a block of Locatelli, I am left to search for my own.

I've tried lots of different recipes from various sources, and I just couldn't find one that knocks me out. Until recently. Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I kinda have a man-crush on Alton Brown, but I never thought that this crazy guy from Georgia could make a meatball. Well I was wrong. A few months ago I decided to give his recipe a whirl and was knocked out. Bec and I loved them. Granted they are not my grandmother's, but I was on to something here and hopefully with a little tweaking, I could have a recipe to call my own.

Here it is, based on Alton Brown's Baked Meatball recipe.

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 1/2 pounds ground round

1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan (Locatelli works here also)
2 eggs
1 Tbs dried basil

1 Tbs dried parsley
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes (more like 3/4 tsp, use more if you like a spicy meatball)
1 cup breadcrumbs (1/2 cup for mix, 1/2 cup for coating)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, spinach, cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, garlic, sal
t, red pepper flakes, and a 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients until well combined. You can use the mix right away, or for a better flavor, cover the bowl and put the mix in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs into a wide bowl. Shape the meatballs into medium size balls (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter), roll around in the bread crumbs coating evenly, and place on a baking sheet. I get about 24 - 30 meatballs with this recipe, depending on the amount of meat. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown and they are cooked through.

You may get some cheese oozing out of the meatballs when you bake them, believe me, this is ok. The original recipe calls for 1 pound each of pork, ground round, and lamb. I made them and they were indeed amazing, but I wanted to try it without the lamb and am very happy with this meat mix. You can also substitute turkey for the beef, it still tastes great.

Click here to download a printable version of this recipe!

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