It’s hard to find anyone who grew up in America that doesn’t have a childhood memories of meatballs. And in the grand tradition of our great country, we stole these from someone else, an no one can agree how they are really supposed to be made.
They can be in a sandwich, over pasta, by themselves, with rice, with cheese, spicy, herby, pork, or beef. But there are some things to keep in mind when making these savory little balls of meat, regardless of how you want them to taste. First, the less you handle the meat the better, over worked meat gets tough and mealy. Second, add some flavor. Spice, or herbs or cheese, these big bites of meat need a kick. Feel free to experiment.
Lastly, if you want them to be round there are a few things you can do:
Make sure the meatballs are really cold before cooking, they’ll hold their shape better.
Boiling them in sauce or liquid will help them stay round but rob them of the nice caramelization that pan frying can give. a combination of cooking methods work best if you want both a nice caramelization as well as a nice shape. But err on the side of flavor, taste always wins over glamour.
Last, don’t be afraid to make them your own. These guys lend themselves to adventure, from chorizo mole meatballs to Bree cheese stuffed meatballs with cherry shallot sauce, these culinary gypsies can go where you send them.
And of course, they like beer. So they can stay for dinner.
For this recipe I used a Pacific Northwest treat, Ninkasi Oatis. A beautiful, creamy oatmeal stout that’s really easy to find now that I live in the Emerald City.