As I mentioned offhand in this post, it is a common thing for me to be asked to make spaghetti and meatballs when I’m up visiting family. Whether it’s because my spag sauce and juicy meat spheres are the best in the land, or that my family is usually just too darn lazy to make it themselves, I usually end up making it every second time or so that I visit, plus extra sauce and meatballs for freezing to be enjoyed later.
This last visit was no exception.
I tend to not go by either paper or online recipe to make meatballs, but instead one I’ve essentially made up in my head. Like my tasty Shepherd’s Pie in one of my recent posts, I’ve made these so often that I don’t need to follow a written recipe. However, for you, dear readers, I shall endeavour to make sense of the madness that is my brainmeats and cough out a recipe you can follow with excellent, standardized results…aaaand now my brain has gone off on one of its celebrated tangents and I’m thinking about Will Ferrell and Anchorman, with Paul Rudd’s “Sex Panther” cologne:
“60% of the time, it works everytime…“
…heh heh…heh…aaaaand I’m back.
Now that I’ve taken my medication (it’s really just Pez), I can get back to discussing my recipe for delicious Pork and Veal meatballs! Granted, you’re going to have to take my word for it that they’re delicious, considering I’ve never eaten one in my life. It makes me extra-careful that I’ve got the seasonings and other ingredient amounts (like salt!!) just right, as, in this case, I cannot taste my way to flavour-town.
You are certainly welcome to use other meats in these meatballs; for example you could substitute ground chicken or turkey for the ground pork, and lean ground beef can easily replace the veal. It’s really up to your personal tastes and preferences, and what you can afford or is available in your area. My suggestion would be to add an extra 25% of the herbs listed in the recipe if you are going with beef instead of veal, as it’s a more robustly flavoured meat. You could also add 1/2 tsp of ground sage or poultry seasoning if you decide to add ground turkey or chicken. I was fortunate that my
partner in gourmet kitchen shenanigans stepfather had recently decided to take me up in my suggestion/kitchen hack on preserving fresh herbs*, and I had a lovely smattering of rosemary, oregano, and thyme for these meatballs (see white dish in pic at top).
Alicia’s Pork and Veal Meatballs
- 1 medium yellow cooking onion, diced finely
- 1 stalk celery, diced finely
- 1/2 green pepper, diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb lean ground veal
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fresh herbs, minced, or 1 tsp dried herbs, crushed (rosemary, thyme, and oregano go very well)
- 1/2 cup seasoned or plain breadcrumbs, fine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Line 2-3 baking trays (depending on your oven size) with parchment paper. Combine onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic in a large glass bowl. Add eggs and mix lightly.
Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT the flour, and combine thoroughly. Use clean hands initially to ensure a thorough mix, then use a fork to “fluff” the meat mixture back up (this ensures a moist, fully cooked meatball instead of an undercooked marble…trust me!)
Scoop flour onto a large dinner plate, and start rolling meatballs. Ensure they are all roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.
Roll meatballs through flour, ensuring an even coating, gently toss them from hand to hand to knock off the extra flour, then place on parchment-covered baking trays (note: you can fry the meatballs in a non-stick or cast-iron frypan–I’ve done it many times before–but they are equally as good baked in the oven, and less fatty as well).
These meatballs will bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on how large you make them. If you are unsure how long to cook them, yet don’t want to overcook, don’t forget you can always toss them into your spag sauce after 20 minutes, in order to give both the meatballs AND the sauce an extra shot of meaty yumminess!
If at this point you want to freeze them for later, remove them from the oven, let them come to room temperature, and pop them into freezer bags, removing as much of the air from the bag as possible before sealing. They should keep for up to 6 months.
*Simple Kitchen Hack for Preserving Extra Fresh Herbs: finely chop and combine in a ratio of 4:1 with some good olive oil, then pour, spoon into empty ice cube trays and freeze solid, then decant into a freezer bag for a quick pop into soups, stews, braises, or pretty much anything that calls for fresh herbs.