Winning meatball recipe wanted!
October 22, 2014 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Hi there. Each year at the mikedelic family holiday party we have a food throwdown. We"ve done lasagna, mac & cheese, chocolate desserts and others in previous years. This year we are doing meatballs. Please help me out with your winning meatball recipes. It doesn't have to be Italian style meatballs, maybe a Asian style with a nice dipping sauce. Thanks!
posted by mikedelic to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
Meat mixture
- ground pork
- minced onion
- minced garlic
- sour cream
- grated parmesan
- red chilli flakes
- egg
- parsley
- bread crumbs

Mix ingredients and form balls.

Brown the meatballs in a large skillet with hot oil. Keep the meatballs separated so they brown and don't steam. Transfer the browned meatballs into an already simmering tomato sauce for a few minutes to finish cooking (braising).

posted by axismundi at 4:50 PM on October 22, 2014

This recipe is perfect and can not be improved upon. The lettuce and bacon are key. I probably use closer to 1/2 cup white wine, but when using real dry sherry only do 1/4 cup.

You will WIN. I promise!!

Spanish Meatballs in Saffron Sauce.


Serves: 4

400g minced pork
400g minced veal

2 cloves garlic, crushed (I use slightly more)

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1 handful iceberg lettuce or little gem (white centre), finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 slice bread, crust removed and lightly soaked in milk (squeeze out excess)

1 slice smoked bacon, very finely chopped

salt and pepper

plain flour for dusting meatballs

olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon plain flour

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

125ml chicken stock

1/4 of white wine or sherry

small pinch saffron


Prep:10min › Cook:50min › Ready in:1hr

In a large mixing bowl, add the minced meat, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon parsley, lettuce, egg, bread and bacon and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands mix well, then divide mixture into small meatballs (ping pong ball size).

Lightly dust meatballs in plain flour and shake off excess.

Heat a fry pan with oil and brown the meatballs. You may have to do this in batches. Remove from pan.

In the same fry pan add the onion and cook until translucent.

Add 1 teaspoon of flour and paprika. Cook out the flour taste for about 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock and wine or sherry. Return meatballs to the pan. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes.

Whilst this is simmering, in a pestle and mortar mix up the remaining garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, saffron and a pinch of salt.

Just before serving, stir the saffron mixture into the sauce then serve.

(The meatballs can be made up to 24 hours in advance. If doing this, when heating through, add the saffron mixture at the end.)
posted by jbenben at 4:51 PM on October 22, 2014 [9 favorites]

If you're from a part of the country that hasn't yet learned the simple pleasure that is meatballs sitting in a combination of chili sauce and jelly, your family is in for an addictive treat. Recipes abound, with people advocating everything from nothing but equal parts cheap Heintz chili sauce and Welches grape jelly on up. Personally, I like to use apricot jam and add in some cinnamon and other aromatic spices for depth. Any standard meatball recipe will do; while you're perfecting the sauce, you can save time by using frozen. You've got plenty of time to perfect your own sauce blend and meatball magic. This dish is often treated as an appetizer, with the meatballs speared by toothpicks, but it's also delicious served over rice.
posted by carmicha at 4:58 PM on October 22, 2014

These are the BEST meatballs I have ever had: Jenny Steffens Homemade Meatball Recipe.
posted by lunastellasol at 5:14 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mozzarella-stuffed pesto- turkey meatballs. Smoked mozzarella recommended. Cut smaller pieces of mozzarella than the recipe calls for and make mini meatballs. My bf doesn't like meatballs; he loved these.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2014

Meatball Nirvana: These are the best meatballs I've ever had.
posted by routergirl at 5:42 PM on October 22, 2014

David Tanis's Tunisian meatballs.
posted by BibiRose at 5:48 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with carmicha. My friend makes meatballs with cranberry sauce -- I believe it's the kind with whole berries -- and it's tas-teeeeee.
posted by Madamina at 5:49 PM on October 22, 2014

These tsukune (Japanese chicken meatballs) from Serious Eats are really good.
posted by bcwinters at 5:54 PM on October 22, 2014

I really, really love this Tagine of Meatballs and Peas
posted by missmobtown at 6:03 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mario Batali says:
The plague of the American meatball is a lack of understanding of the proper proportions of meat and non-meat. A really good meatball is about 50 percent meat and 50 percent breadcrumbs.

I can't verify this personally but it is true that really good Italian restaurants always have soft and tasty meatballs that are not tough and chewy at all.
posted by RoadScholar at 6:16 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

The eponymous Mr. Meatball has a good recipe
posted by Runes at 6:21 PM on October 22, 2014

Not so much a recipe, but some notes on technique: 1) don't over-mix or over-compact when you're forming the balls - they'll end up tough. To help with this, I keep things cold, mix all the non-meat ingredients together (I like panko and milk and an egg and grated cheese and spices) then add meat (not lean meat). This combo of ingredients sort of breaks up the meat structure and helps stop it getting tough. 2) test out seasoning by cooking a tiny bit of the mixture in a pan. Taste test, adjust, etc. 3) once the seasoning is right, I like to cook all the meatballs in the oven since I always end up w/half undercooked half burnt meatballs when I pan fry. Make them all about the same size so they cook evenly. Cover sheet pan with foil, bake at about 350 for 20-30 minutes depending on size. Start testing after 20/25 min. You'll have to sacrifice some meatballs for cutting open unless you have a meat thermometer.
posted by loulou718 at 7:10 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just get frozen meatballs from the grocery store and then cook them in a crockpot with grape jelly. I know it sounds disgusting but it's actually amazing.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:47 PM on October 22, 2014

Seconding the idea that you need a lot of breadcrumbs to avoid tough, bouncy meatballs.

I make Mediterranean-inspired meatballs that always get scarfed:

mostly beef
some lamb (or pork)
fresh oregano
little bit of marjoram
lemon zest

Baked or fried, these go well with couscous, roasted red peppers, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
posted by Specklet at 7:49 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Meatballs with Ricotta in Tomato Sauce from Simply Recipes is my go to. I've had friends request the recipe from me after having them.
posted by Miss Matheson at 8:02 PM on October 22, 2014

I had to go digging for this recipe. It's really good and pretty easy since you can bake them.
Swedish meatballs from Web 1.0 days.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:43 PM on October 22, 2014

These turkey meatballs with sultanas and pine nuts, courtesy Orangette, have been my favorite non-traditional version for years.

Much less involved, very simple (little more than meat and toasted whole cumin seed balled and placed under the broiler) but addictively delicious, are Melissa Clark's Cumin Veal Meatballs. I've never made them with veal, and once in a pinch I made them out of a Jimmy Dean-type sausage roll and they were still so good. I can't find the recipe online just this moment; if I get a chance later I will post the recipe or keep looking for it.
posted by ifjuly at 8:51 PM on October 22, 2014

Everyone is correct that soft meatballs have more bread crumbs....

Unless you follow the recipe I posted and use one slice of bread soaked in milk and squeezed out, plus the white ribs (or use iceberg type) chopped lettuce.

There is magic in that combo.

I use a the same technique now when I make meatloaf.
posted by jbenben at 9:40 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jacqueline has it almost bang-on. If you do:

-Any of the meatball recipes above (I'm no expert, and my traditional recipe is a combination of beef + whatever I can find in the refrigerator, plus spices);
-Jar of Grape Jelly;
-Bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce

Bake meatballs, combine in pot with the latter two, heat, serve. Seriously, I've had foodies come begging for the recipe, and been seriously offended that it's really that easy to make something amazing. Try it ahead if you are skeptical; the cost is negligible to confirm. This recipe will seriously bring the noise. All credit goes to my mom.
posted by liquado at 12:28 AM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like the baked chicken meatballs from Smitten Kitchen.
posted by neushoorn at 12:47 AM on October 23, 2014

Panade. Panade. Panade. Panade. Panade. That's what jbenben's referring to, and she's absolutely right. Soft bread, doused in whole milk or half and half. Much much much better than breadcrumbs.

Personally, I never really follow a recipe when it comes to meatballs. The best ones I've ever done were about 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork, couple ounces finely chopped salami, a few slices of white bread torn up and made into a panade, an egg, an ounce or so of grated Romano and some basil. That little bit of salami really gives it a salty punch. But whatever you do, even if you to a totally different style, make a panade. It will be a revelation. Also, don't pack 'em too tight and give them a good browning on the outside before you put 'em in the sauce for a little bit of texture contrast. In conclusion, panade.
posted by Diablevert at 8:42 AM on October 23, 2014

The best meatballs mix different types of meat. I prefer a mixture of ground beef, pork and veal (so, Italian). I also like to use breadcrumbs and an egg to keep everything together. The secret to good meatballs is layering flavors and getting a lot of different flavors working together. Good luck!
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:19 AM on October 23, 2014

another variation of the jelly and chili sauce, jar of red plum jelly, jar of heinz chili sauce, squirt of yellow mustard. also yummy on sausages.

you may also turn to the one and only pioneer woman - comfort meatballs. fancy, intriguing flavors these are not, but they are like tiny meatloafs covered in sweet and sour. huge hit. if others are prone to find the most unusual meatballs they can bring, these will be the complete opposite - familiar flavors will bring home the W!
posted by domino at 12:17 PM on October 23, 2014

Agree big time on the bread and milk. I do ground beef, some italian sausage taken out of its casing, stale bread soaked in milk, grated garlic, raisons, pine nuts, fresh parsley, grated romano, salt and pepper, and an egg. The raisons and pine nuts are key also -- they give kind of a sweet/savory taste which is fabulous.
posted by Cocodrillo at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2014

Update, please! What kind of meatballs did you make?
posted by Specklet at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2014

« Older Should my friend ask for compensation for an...   |   Famous/beautiful stairs or steps in London, Madrid... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.