We picked up a roughly 2lb package of ground beef this week, and both my husband and I independently decided it was time to make meatballs, which we haven’t done in forever. I was too lazy to look up a recipe, so last night I made with the improvisational cooking. I’ll have to make this recipe over again so I can measure things and put up an actual recipe, but in case you feel comfortable with loose amounts, here are the guidelines:
- 2lb or so of ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- A liberal dash of chili oil—tabasco or other hot sauce should work as well
- A liberal dash each of white pepper, black pepper, and Italian seasoning—if I were forced to guess at an amount, I would say 1/4 to 1/2 t each
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons corn meal
- 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
Mix everything well with your hands (mixing with your hands is a good way to keep everything from becoming overly-squished together, which tends to lead to hard meatball-pucks). Form into meatballs no more than one inch in diameter.
Heat a large pan to the point where a few drops of water dripped into it skitter across the surface and immediately evaporate. Add a small drizzle of grapeseed, canola, or other high-temperature-friendly oil to the pan, wait a moment for it to heat up, and start adding meatballs until you run out of room in the pan.
Brown the meatballs on one side, turn over to brown the other side, and add a small amount of hot water to the pan (just a couple of tablespoons). Lid the pan and cook for eight minutes; split one of the largest meatballs to make sure they’re done and remove to a plate with paper towels on it. By now there should be plenty of liquid in the pan for any remaining batches; remove excess if necessary and repeat until done.
These were very flavorful and had a wonderful crispy “crust” to them. I came up with the idea of using cornmeal and oats because we didn’t have any bread crumbs on hand and I was too lazy to manufacture them. My first thought was to use cornmeal for the kind of crispy texture I thought it might create, but I was concerned that the fine texture would encourage hard meatballs; hence the addition of oats as well to soften them up a bit. I like the results so much that I think I’ll do it this way from now on. We ended up eating these with a homemade tomato sauce (a simple mix of some canned garlic-flavored tomatoes and cannelini beans) and whole wheat pasta; the flavor of the meatballs stood up quite well to those other flavorful components.