You could call them mini-meatloaf bites if you wanted to. They essentially are. A basic meatball can be used for a variety of cuisines and is so simple to accomplish. The worst meatballs are dry and have a texture that could remind you of food not fit for human consumption. The best meatballs are moist, tender, and hold up well in sauce as well as on the end of a toothpick and dipped in a condiment.
Meatballs, like meatloaf, are better made when you have a party of animals going on there. In mine, I do a combination of ground pork and ground beef. Ideally, I would have wanted a less lean pork. Why? Fat = moisture = flavor. Alas, the local grocery only had one type of unseasoned “extra lean” pork for sale. *sigh* Ce la vie, I suppose. As for the ground beef, it was 20% fat. I admit, the lacking pork fat was missed.
I prepared these meatballs two ways. One way, I pan fried them, getting a nice dark brown crust on the outside. The seared meatballs were then finished in a marinara sauce. The other way, I baked them in the oven so I could freeze and store them.
- 1 lb. of ground beef (not lean, you want something like ground chuck)
- 1 lb. of ground pork (go for around 70% – 80% lean)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I would have used a bit more, but I got tired of grating cheese.)
- 3 eggs
- salt and pepper (be generous, you’ll be happy with the results)
Dump everything in a bowl.
Get down and dirty and mix WITH YOUR HANDS. It’ll be fine. You’ll survive. Just mix it up until everything looks incorporated and evenly distributed.
Next, still with your hands, grab a chunk any size you want and roll into a ball. Do so with all of the mixture until you no longer have any leftover.
Cook however you want!
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, lay in the meatballs. and let them fry until a brown crust forms.
When they have enough color, turn over and let cook until they reach a similar shade again.
If you want the meatballs in a sauce, pour in your sauce of choice and turn the heat on low-medium, cover the pan, and let them simmer until cooked through. (I used Trader Joe’s Low Sodium Organic Marinara.)
If no sauce is desired, then give the meatballs a stir, and pour in a small amount of water or broth. Cover, and let the steam finish them off.
If you want to bake them, put the raw meatballs on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (maybe longer depending on the size of your meatballs); flip them over, and rotate the sheet halfway through.
Easy peasy, George and Weezy!