Thursday, June 22, 2017

Boiled Meatballs ???

I have been on a mission to cook creatively without my oven.

I was baking cookies when I heard a zap-buzzzzzzt coming from my oven and when I looked over I saw a bright red flame. The bottoms of my cookies were charred black and my kitchen filled with smoke. I guess you could say that my oven was announcing its retirement in a very dramatic way. It wasn’t a complete surprise. I have been putting off replacing my oven for years, but didn’t because it’s complicated.

Long story short, my dilapidated (30 year old) wall oven cabinet won’t fit a new fangled oven, which means that I need to build a new cabinet before I can replace my old oven. The repair man loved me, but this time... the repair man told me that there's no hope and to just take it off life support.

With that said, Here's one of my cooking experiments without an oven.

I know that boiled meatballs and delicious shouldn't be in the same sentence, but I needed a way to cook the meatballs through without an oven.

To my surprise boiling the meatballs removed the fattiness while keeping it tender and juicy. They were fantastic and better than the ones that I usually pan fry then bake and the clean up was minimal since I only used one pot. As an added bonus the water that I boiled the meatballs in produced an incredibly flavorful broth that will become a wonderful soup or gravy for another meal. 
So don’t toss out the water. 

Proof that this method of cooking was a keeper is when my daughter stopped by for a surprise visit. She scanned the fridge for leftovers and picked out a cold meatball then mumbled with her mouth full, these are better than your Damn Good Meatballs. As she reached in the fridge for a second meatball I told her, those are my Damn Good Meatballs - just boiled. I guess I'll be boiling my meatballs from now on.

My notes to you…
Chill meatballs after you shape them for at least an hour or overnight so they will hold their shape better.

After you boil the meatballs you can either sauté them with butter or olive oil to brown, add them to your favorite bottled sauce or my easy tomato sauce (recipe below) or place them in the freezer for a quick meal for later.

1          batch              DamnGood Meatballs (makes 16) recipe below
8          cups               water
1          Tbsp.              kosher salt

Gently place meatballs one at a time into the boiling water. Stir gently once or twice so they will cook evenly. Boil over med-high heat for 13-15 min. or until it is cooked through. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon.

Strain broth through a cheesecloth to remove impurities, then refrigerate to remove fat. The broth will make a wonderful soup or gravy for another meal.

(makes 16 meatballs)

2          pounds           ground beef
1/3       cup                 Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1          Tblsp.             dry parsley, (2 Tblsp. fresh)
½         cup                 parmesan cheese, grated
2          tsp.                 kosher salt
½         tsp.                 black pepper
1/8       tsp.                 nutmeg
1          large               egg
¾         cup                 warm water

In a large bowl add all the ingredients except the ground beef and mix well.

Break up the ground beef into the bowl and mix to blend. Making sure that the seasoning gets evenly mixed into the beef.

To make 16 even meatballs, divide the beef into 4. Make 4 meatballs with each section by rolling them in the palms of your hands.

Boil meatballs as instructed above.

Serve with your favorite bottled sauce or make my easy tomato sauce.
2              cloves                   garlic, minced
1              small                     onion, chopped
½             med                      carrot, grated (or ½ tsp. sugar)
2              Tbsp.                    tomato paste
1              28 oz. can            Italian whole peeled tomatoes
1              28 oz. can            Italian crushed tomatoes
1              cup                       water
1              tsp.                       dried basil
1              tsp.                       dried oregano
½             tsp.                       kosher salt
¼             tsp.                       black pepper
¼             tsp.                       crushed pepper (more if you like it spicy)

Place heavy bottom pot over med-high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the pot along with the garlic, onions and carrots.  Stir to mix and lower heat; cook covered for about 5 minutes or until the onions are very soft.  Clear a spot in the middle of the pot and add tomato paste and let cook for about a minute.  Stir to mix; add the tomatoes (crush the whole ones with your hands), water, basil, oregano, salt and peppers.  Stir to mix and let simmer covered for 30 minutes.

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