By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
I love foods that are extremely versatile. Ones, that when you get the basics down, you can adapt a million different ways and be assured that they will work out the way you envision. Meatballs are like that. They can be ever so simple or as gourmet as you can imagine. And who doesn’t love a great meatball.
Once you understand that they need fat and a binding agent (like eggs), you can make them out of any meat combination you can imagine. For meats, that are more lean, don’t roast them. Braise them in liquid instead. Use herbs and vegetables for coloring.
- 1 lb. Ground Chicken
- 1/2 Lb. Ground Pork
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Large Carrot, Grated Medium
- 1 Medium Purple Onion, Chopped Fine
- 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped Fine
- 1 Sprig + 1 Tbs. Fresh Rosemary, Chopped Fine
- 1 Sprig + 2 Tbs. Fresh Thyme, Chopped Fine
- 3 Tbs. Fresh Parsley, Chopped Medium/Fine
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tbs. Fresh Cracked Assorted Peppercorns
- 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs, Seasoned
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Tbs. of Butter
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your ground chicken, ground pork, grated carrot, chopped onion, chopped garlic and cheddar cheese. Either using a large wooden spoon or using your bare hands, mix together well. Be sure to keep the meat as loose as possible. Cooking Tip: If you are using your bare hands to mix together meat for meatballs, meatloafs or burgers…i suggest running cold water over them to reduce their temperature. This helps to keep the fat in the meat from softening and will give you a better end product. Most people don’t realize that the heat from your hands creates a physical reaction in the meat that turns to a chemical reaction. Causing your end product to be more dense.
- Next, add your chopped thyme, rosemary, parsley, salt, assorted cracked peppercorns, Panko bread crumbs and eggs. Mix together until well combined. Again, be careful to keep the meat fairly loose.
- Take you tbs. of butter and place into a large cast iron skillet. Place the skillet on the top rack of the oven for 3-5 minutes to melt your butter and heat of the skillet.
- While your skillet is heating up, take a ice cream scooper and place a scoop of your meat mixture between your palms. Gently, roll into a meatball shape and place on a plate. Continue this until you have made all of your meatballs.
- Remove your skillet from the oven. Swirl the butter around to ensure even coverage of your skillet. Place your meatballs into the skillet. Be sure to not pack them in too tightly so you have a little room around each.
- Cook on the center rack of your oven for 5-7 minutes. This is to start the cooking process and give them a little body prior to adding the sauce components.
- Remove from the oven and turn your meatballs over gently. Then, pour your chicken broth and cream into the skillet. Add your sprigs of rosemary and thyme to the cream on the side of the skillet and return to the center rack of your oven.
- Finish cooking for another 10 minutes or so. Just until your meatballs are cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and pluck out the sprigs of herbs. Spoon the sauce over your meatballs as you serve over your favorite rice or pasta component. They also make for excellent meatball sandwiches.
- Enjoy with friends and family any night of the week.