Favorite Meatball Recipe

One of my favorite meatball recipes came from a cookbook penned by Emeril Lagasse. What I remember most of this recipe is that it called for each meatball to be formed around a whole clove of garlic. I immediately made two changes to the recipe. First, I cut the amount of garlic back by half. Then I minced the garlic and mixed it in with the ground beef. This way, the garlic still makes the meatballs richer and more decadent but you don’t go biting into whole cloves of garlic.

Then one day, tragedy struck. I lost my version of the recipe. Over the years I’ve dabbled with the recipe’s original concept, trying to recreate the meatballs I’d come to love. I spent time trying to recreate this recipe because the garlic, combined with the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce made for one of the most decadent meatballs I’ve ever had. And cooking them in a sauce with some fresh vegetables helped make them even more delicious, not to mention nourishing.

1½ lbs ground beef

1 egg

10 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup bread crumbs

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

r¼ tsp each white pepper and cayenne

1-2 Tbsp canola oil

¾ cup white onion, chopped fine

1 bell pepper, chopped fine

½ cup celery, chopped fine

2 cups tomato, chopped fine

¼ cup flour

1½ cups beef broth

1) In a large bowl combine ground beef, eggs, garlic, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Form into 1½-2 inch meatballs. This normally gives me 30-36 meatballs

.2) In a frying pan over medium high heat cook meatballs in canola oil in batches, until browned on all sides. Don’t crowd the meatballs in the pan or they’ll steam instead of brown. As the meatballs cook set them on a plate with paper towel and set aside.

3) When the meatballs are done, drain drippings so there’s 1-2 Tbsp drippings in the pan. Add onion and saute 5 minutes until translucent. Add other vegetables and cook 5-10 minutes, until cooked.

4) Transfer vegetables to a saucepan and add flour, stirring to combine. Add beef broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer one hour. After one hour add meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more.

5) Serve over cooked rice or mashed potatoes with corn or string beans.

Sometimes I like to mix some ground pork into the meatballs. To do this, I just use 1 lb ground beef and ½ lb of the ground pork. If you like, try the recipe with bulk sausage meat or even ground chicken or turkey. ½ lb of bulk sweet basil Italian sausage sometimes makes for a nice change. Or if you want to make the dish more of a stew, add some chopped carrots and diced potatoes during the last half hour when you add the meatballs. 

© 2019 Paul Timman