Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Most Tender Meatballs Ever

The Most Tender Meatballs Ever

Did you ever find yourself ridiculously slow to realize something simple? For years I've made my meatloaf, not with the standard high fat meatloaf mix but with extra lean ground sirloin. And the way I kept my meatloaf moist and juicy was by loading it with veggies. Yet somehow, it's taken me years to come to the same realization with meatballs.

The Most Tender Meatballs Ever
Until I met Brian, I was making meatballs using a typical recipe, adding a little onion and garlic for flavor and spooning on a little sauce. I thought they were fine but he is ultra sensitive and only likes extremely tender meatballs. Needless to say, he felt that mine were not.  Hmm. At first I didn't want to add chunks of things that I thought would detract from the softness but it wasn't until I was stirring a Bolognese sauce one day that the idea came to me. To make the Bolognese sauce (see the recipe here), I pureed the vegetables and it now hit me that I could do the same with the meatballs. Duh!

The Most Tender Meatballs Ever
Since I prefer not to fry unless absolutely essential, I baked these meatballs and then gave them a slow simmer in the tomato sauce to absorb extra flavor. The difference was immediately obvious to Brian and to me. These meatballs were melt-in-your-mouth tender and far more flavorful than any I'd made before. So, OK, a little slow to arrive but I'm there now. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 lb. Lean ground beef
1 Large onion, peeled
1 Stalk celery
1/4 Cup fresh parsley
1 Carrot, peeled
4 Cloves garlic, peeled
1 Egg
1/4 Cup breadcrumbs
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 Cup Milk
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
4 Cups tomato sauce (homemade or your favorite store bought)
Handful of fresh basil, chopped

The Most Tender Meatballs Ever
Formed and ready for the oven.
In a food processor or small chopper, puree the onion, carrot, celery, parsley and garlic until finely minced. In a large bowl, mix together the vegetable puree, beef, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, milk, seasoning and 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce until thoroughly combined. Form meatballs using your hands or a scoop. I used a 1 oz. scoop which made the job easy and the balls uniform in size. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

The Most Tender Meatballs Ever
Roasted meatballs
Heat the remainder of the tomato sauce in a pot on the stove.  When the meatballs are roasted, add to the tomato sauce, cover and simmer on low heat for an additional 30 minutes. Serve over pasta and top with the fresh basil and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Makes approximately 4 servings.

26 comments:

  1. That is really brilliant idea to add pureed vegetables! Meatballs really look super yummy!

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  2. The MOST tender meatballs I ever made had a HUGE amount of pulvarized veggies in them, so I know these are amazing! YUM! And gorgeous photos!

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  3. Great idea -- of course! I bet these were tasty.

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  4. Love the idea of roasting the meatballs! The final dish is making my mouth water, looks amazing.

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  5. looks so good, I'm hungry again...lol... gonna try this :)

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  6. These meatballs look incredibly scrumptious. Your photos are making my mouth water!

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  7. Sounds awesome! Can't wait to try it out!

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  8. These look delicious! I like that you used just beef (not a big fan of pork and veal) and added some of the sauce for flavor. I bet these would be great in a sandwich as well as all by themselves!

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  9. These sound great, Anita!! You HAVE added another table, haven't you? Looks like I'm gonna need more room now :-D

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  10. I definitely love the idea of simmering them in tomato sauce!

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  11. This actually looks way too incredible :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  12. So interesting to use a vegetable puree in your meatballs! I'm definitely going to try that next time. Your spaghetti and meatballs looks so luscious! I always bake my meatballs as well. Not only is it healthier, but easier too!

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  13. I love both ideas...adding pureed veggies and baking vs. frying! Now I'm craving meatballs...specifically, your meatballs!

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  14. What an amazing recipe! I love this! This is healthy and perfect for me! great great recipe cant wait to try this!

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  15. these sound yummy! I'm going to make them I like that they have all the veggies.... watch out kiddies mommy is gonna sneak a bunch of good stuff into your meatballs!!!!

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  16. I've been looking for a new meatball recipe, and these look spectacular! I'll have to try it out very soon. Great post! :)

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  17. Holy moly! This looks incredible! Love that you baked instead of frying. I totally want this for dinner today!

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  18. This is like a healthier version of the Lidia Bastianich meatballs that I love so much--they look amazing! Adding all the veggies really does help them stay moist.

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  19. These look yummy Anita.I have to make it now. I love that you baked it and all veggies you added.

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  20. those are some incredible looking meatballs! yum!!

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  21. Dang. You give good meatball.

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  24. I have made MANY recipes. This is my hands down favorite! Brilliant addition of pureed vegetables! Thanks for this recipe, sharing it with all my friends!

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