by Chef Dez / Special for Black Press Media
Walking through a warehouse store the other day, a package of frozen meatballs caught my eye.
I said to my wife, “I wonder how many people actually buy them,” and a little chat between her and me, around this topic, ensued.
I love meatballs in pasta dishes, sandwiches, soups, stews and other applications, but I would never consider buying them ready-made.
There is obviously a place in the market for ready meals, I understand.
And while my comment above was made in part as a joke, I do realize that people have busy lives, and making food out of thin air is probably not high on their priority lists.
However, there is probably a percentage of the population who may not know how to make good meatballs out of thin air.
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So, for the culinary adventurers and the culinary curious alike, I am giving you my “basic” recipe of meatballs that can be flavored to suit any culinary application.
Go over the ingredients for the recipe 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 the two) that will suit your application. For example, if you wanted to create an Asian style meatball, I would suggest using 1 tablespoon of Chinese 5 spice powder; if you wanted an italian cooking type meatball i would suggest using 1 tbsp of dried basil; or if an Indian cuisine type meatball was preferred, I would suggest using 1 tbsp ground garam masala or curry powder (or a combination of both).
Can you see where I am going?
It’s actually fairly easy. Use your spice rack as a myriad of flavor profile combinations; experiment and have fun.
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By the way, ground chuck is beef, but its flavor is much better than the standard ground beef you buy at a grocery store. The ground chuck can be purchased at your local butcher’s shop and has a stronger and better beef flavor to make the best meatball possible when combined with ground pork.
Now take life by the meatballs and never assume you must be caught by frozen ready meals.
Chef Dez meatballs for all occasions!
“The combination of two different types of meat gives the meatballs a more complex flavor. Personalize them for any application with a tablespoon of your desired dried herbs / spices.
1 pound (454 g) ground chuck
1 pound (454 g) lean ground pork
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely crushed or minced garlic
1 tablespoon of dried herbs and / or spices (see column above for examples)
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tsp of pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with baking spray and set aside (or line a baking sheet with parchment paper).
In a large bowl, combine the chuck, pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, herbs / spices, salt and pepper.
Mix until well combined into a homogeneous mixture. Roll the pieces of the mixture into small, about 3/4 (three-quarter) inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
You should have about 45 to 50 meatballs.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until their internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).
Temporarily place cooked meatballs on paper towels to remove some of the fat. Add to your desired recipe app.
– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit it at www.chefdez.com. Send your questions to [email protected] or PO Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4
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