My Communal Table


Melting Pot Meatballs

Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs. Love them. Who doesn’t love them? Whether it is a swedish meatball, pork meatball slow cooked in ragu, or a chicken meatball floating in a beautiful broth, meatballs are just solid comfort food. My families’ century old restaurant still has BBQ meatballs on the menu after decades of being a customer favorite. I suspect that there might even be a revolt if it were ever to be removed. I am telling you it is comfort on a plate.There is even a restaurant devoted to them in NYC. Who can resist a unctuous meatball sitting in front of them? The good news is that meatballs are not complicated and you can make them in a huge batch and freeze them to use in different ways at a latter date.

I originally dream up these meatballs to go with the large amount of Oxtail Ragu that I had frozen in the freezer. I tried to mimic the flavors of the ragu by adding some of the same ingredients to the meatball. A chef would say he is layering the flavors to add intensity. I usually bake my meatballs, but they taste great fried as well, but it is a healthier choice to bake them.


Click here for Oxtail Ragu

Makes 24

Melting Pot Meatball:

1 cup milk
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup bread crumbs
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground pork
2 eggs
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated romano cheese
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
2 teaspoons fresh sage
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Heat up milk until it just starts to bubble.

2. Pour over bread and raisins. (Note: It can be a couple slices of bread or bread crumbs. Whatever you have on hand.) Make sure that all the raisins are covered. Set aside to cool, while prepping your meat.

3. In a large shallow bowl, place the meat and all the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Mix together.

4. Mix the milk mixture now that it has cooled. Raisins should be plumped up and milk soaked up in the bread. Add to meat mixture and blend well.

5. Form into balls. Size can vary depending on personal preference. I like them about the size of a plum.

6. Place on a ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350F oven. (I like baking my meatballs. Easy clean up, browns from oven. Brown adds flavor. Can freeze them and vary the sauce to suit the dish I am cooking at the time.)

Now for the explaination of “Melting Pot Meatball”… A couple of days have passed and longing for comfort food, but more ragu and meatballs are not going to hit the spot. No way am I going to the grocery store at this hour. Oh yes, I can change the sauce that I put over the meatball and satisfy my need for something different. Asian influenced..yeah, that’s it. With some heat…yes.

So I pull meatballs out of the freezer and defrost in microwave. Start the sauce cooking, then toast the bread for my meatball sandwich. Oh, I have some dinner roll size ciabatas in the freezer, so it looks like I am going to have Meatball sliders. Oh, now I am getting hungry. Lettece, jalepenos and some pickled cabbage are placed on the bread for the base of the slider. I toss the meatballs in the finished sauce and place on top of the base. Top it and serve…OMG. I usually have the handy bottle of Sriracha on the dinner table for the people that want more heat. I am one of those people. Love spicy heat.

Tangy Asian sauce:

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
3 ginger, large slices
2 scallions
3 slices jalapeno
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1.Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over low heat until cooked down slightly. Approx. 15-20 minutes.
2.Strain sauce through sieve. Use on meats or veggies. Will store well in fridge for about 10 days.

Hope that you can see how you can stretch your food dollars and your time with a little prep and forethought. I got several meals out of few recipes. Plus, meatballs are just the best.

Pull up a chair, Elizabeth

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great name for a great recipe!

Comment by Liz the Chef

This recipe intrigues me! I love making meatballs and cooking them in the red gravy all day long until they melt in your mouth! These sound scrumptious – I’ll have to try them!

Comment by Kris

Oh Kris, I love the way that you make meatballs. You are right, they melt in your mouth. These are just different. Still tender, but I can add them to different recipes by baking them separately or simply change a recipe. When I stuck the oxtail ragu in the freezer, we had eaten all the tail meat up, but the sauce was so good being flavored with oxtail, I knew I needed to something equally as unctuous to replace the oxtail. Let me know if you try them. Elizabeth

Comment by behindthechair




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