Not that I was actually feeding a crowd - there were 4 of us for dinner yesterday. But since the store where I was shopping only had organic meat pre-packaged in pounds, and one pound wasn´t enough, I ended up with almost a kilo of meat. Normally I fry and then braise my meatballs in a large frying pan, but no frying pan is big enough to hold the amount of meatballs you get from a kilo of meat.
So I thought of this way to cook and serve them, and they came out so delicious and moist and juicy, that I think this will be a great method even for smaller batches.
This recipe is more about the method than about ingredients: use whatever flavorings you fancy in the meat, but do use the eggs, milk, breadcrumbs and tomato paste. There could be rosemary and lemon zest, or fresh oregano and a bit of grated parmesan in these meatballs. Or go the oriental route and add chili paste and soy sauce, and add some peanut butter instead of the tomato paste!
Baked meatballs a kilo of ground meat, half beef, half pork 2 eggs a good handful of dry breadcrumbs 100 ml milk 2 tablespoons of tomato paste a handful of fresh parsley, chooped 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped 1 small shallots, finely chopped a grating of fresh nutmeg salt, pepper oil for frying to finish: 2 tablespoons butter 2 large onions, thinly sliced 2 cloves of garlic finely minced 1 glass of wine (I used rose but red or white would work just as well) 1 glass of water or light stock
Mix the meat with the first set of ingredients. Form into small patties. By ´patty´ I mean a small, slightly flattened meat ball. At this point, you can set them aside in the fridge for a couple of hours until you are ready to cook them.
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Heeat a little oil in a frying pan. Get the pan really, really hot. Have a large baking dish ready, preferably one that will take all the meat patties in one layer. Start frying the patties until you have a nice crust on both sides - no need to cook them all the way through, they´ll finish cooking in the oven. Transfer them to the baking dish when they are browned. When all the patties are browned and in the baking dish, add the butter to the frying pan. When it´s melted, add the onions and garlic and fry over medium heat until they are golden brown. Deglaze the pan with wine and water, simmer for a minute, and season with salt and pepper. Then pour this sauce over the meatballs in the baking dish. Nudge the strands of onions a bit so they rest between the meatballs instead of on top of them, or the crust on the patties will go soggy.
Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes - test one meatball to see if it´s cooked through.
The cake we had for dessert was this one, made with blueberries instead of raspberries. Very good, and not bad with a cup of coffee the next day as I´ve just discoverd!