National Meatball Day

Celebrate National Meatball Day

With Jennifer A. Daskevich – Founder of Sandwich America

www.sandwichamerica.com

 

March 9 is National Meatball Day and what a glorious day to celebrate.

Some form of balls of meat “Meatballs” – although not referred to as such until recently – has been in existence at least since the Roman ages and as long as written recipes have been in existence.  Like many favorite comfort foods, meatballs were firsts made out of necessity – from what was left – in this case, scraps of meat and day old bread.  Necessity being the mother of invention – it seems many cultures independently created these culinary delights.  Whether you call them Meatballs, Polpette, Kibbeh, Albondigas or Swedish, they are delicious and satisfying in many languages and cultures.

 

As food historians can testify, the term “meatball” is fairly new, most likely created in melting pot America to refer to the classic Italian-American version so often tucked into gooey melty subs which we at Sandwich America love, or mixed in with spaghetti for the American dish Spaghetti and meatballs.

 

The great thing about meatballs is once you get the basics down, you can adjust them for any type of meat, any flavor, or any theme that strikes your fancy.

 

Here is a great general formula to follow:

General Ratios for Great Meatballs

 

1 pound meat (beef, lamb, veal, pork, or combination of meats)

½ cup aromatics (onions and garlic sautéed)

1 egg

½ cup bread soaked in milk

Kosher Salt

Fresh Cracked Pepper

 

Then add your flavors.  We offer two variations below.  Here are some tips to follow as you make your meatballs.

 

General Tips for Meatballs

 

A Dry Uncooked Meatball Will Lead to a Dry Cooked Meatball

Mix your binder (bread) with milk.  The bread soaks up the liquid and helps make the meatball light and fluffy.  If your meatball is to dense when you do your test cook (see below) then don’t be shy about adding a little more liquid – the mixture should be a bit wet if the meatballs are to stay moist.

 

Be Gentle

Don’t use a mixer or a spoon – use the best kitchen tools in existence, your hands and mix until barely combined.  Be gentle, you don’t want to over mix – that can make the meatballs tough.

 

Bigger is not Necessarily Better

 

If the meatballs are too big they may not stay put together or the outside may be overcooked before the inside is cooked.  Think golf ball and you can’t go wrong.

 

Always Make a Tester Meatball Before Cooking the Whole Batch

 

Once they are all cooked you really can’t make any adjustments so be sure to cook a test meatball.  If they fall apart add more binder, it’s too heavy add more liquid, if it doesn’t have the flavor you want, add some more salt or spices.  Don’t be shy with the flavor.

 

Two Meatball Variations

 

Here is a recipe for lamb meatballs highlighted on National Meatball Day on WFLA Daytime TV Show.  We love our Aussie Grass fed lamb for its lean, clean flavor.  It works perfectly in this recipe.

 

Aussie Lamb Meatballs

 

  • 1 pound ground Aussie Lamb
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup grated onion (use a cheese grater or a food processor to get it nice and fine – this will add great moisture to your meatballs).
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup day old bread ripped into small pieces soaked in milk (if you don’t have day old bread just pop into the oven until slightly hardened but not toasted).
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon fresh mint chopped up
  • Flour for dusting

 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic and cook until softened – do not brown.   Set aside and cool.  Put the lamb in a large mixing bowl.  Squeeze excess milk from bread and put bread in lamb.  (do not discard the extra milk in case you need to add a bit of moisture to the meatballs later).  Add in the onions and garlic.  Beat the egg and add in the egg.  Add in the oregano, coriander, lemon zest, mint, a good pinch of salt, and a couple turns of the pepper grinder.  Using your hands, gently combine everything until smooth.  Form into small meatballs, about the size of golf balls, no bigger.  Heat the ¼ cup olive over medium heat.  Dredge each meatball in flour and shake off excess.  Cook in pan rotating sides until cooked through – about 15 minutes.

 

You can serve these warm or at room temperature.  We love them on a Kings Hawaiian Roll with some tzatziki and some fresh pickled red onions and jalapenos.

 

Beef and Pork Meatballs

 

 

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup grated onion (use a cheese grater or a food processor to get it nice and fine – this will add a great moisture to your meatballs).
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup day old bread ripped into small pieces soaked in milk (if you don’t have day old bread just pop into the oven until slightly hardened but not toasted)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian Parsley
  • Flour for dusting

 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic and cook until softened – do not brown.   Set aside and cool.  Put the pork and beef in a large mixing bowl.  Squeeze excess milk from bread and put bread in with meat (do not discard the extra milk in case you need to add a bit of moisture to the meatballs later).  Add in the onions and garlic.  Beat the egg and add in the egg.  Add in the oregano, red pepper flakes, parmesan, parsley, a small pinch of salt (remember the parmesan will also add salt – you can add more salt after your test meatball if you need more salt), and a couple turns of the pepper grinder.  Using your hands, gently combine everything until smooth.  Form into small meatballs, about the size of golf balls, no bigger.  Heat the ¼ cup olive over medium heat.  Dredge each meatball in flour and shake off excess.  Cook in pan rotating sides until cooked through – about 15 minutes.

 

These can be made ahead and freeze great.  We love them for a last minute meatball sub on a busy night.  Just toast some hoagie rolls, add in three meatballs, your favorite jarred marinara (yes it works great here) a couple slices of provolone and you have a great hot dinner in no time at all.

 

Happy Meatball Day!!

 

About the Guest Chef:

 

Jennifer is the founder of Sandwich America, Jennifer is an award winning competitive cook, lawyer, restaurant owner (Coastal Grill and Bar in Kissimmee, FL), wine sommelier, award winning food photographer and budding foodie entrepreneur – Jennifer’s life is more than just “A Little Gourmet Every Day” – it’s a full sprint living buffet.

In addition to her multiple TV appearances, include her winning role in FYI’s Original Series World Food Championships, Jennifer competes and wins major competitions regularly.  Jennifer is the 2013/2014 World Sandwich Champion, the 2015 Chevron Game Day Chef of the Year, and the 2016 Gnarly Head Grilling Nation Ribs Contest, amongst many wins.  For more about Jennifer visit www.sandwichamerica.com and www.alittlegourmeteveryday.com and follow her on Instagram and twitter @sandwichamerica and @alittlegourmet

 

Next time you are in the Orlando area, visit her at her at Coastal Grill and Barwww.gocoastalgrill.com, a highly rated restaurant minutes from Disney which features fresh flavors and dishes inspired by beaches around the world.  Coastal Grill and Bar is inside Regal Oaks Resort at 5780 Golden Hawk Way, Kissimmee, FL 34746.  407-997-1607.

 

Let’s Hoagie!!  Share your favorite sandwich with us @sandwichamerica.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s