March 19, 2008

Just Another Meatball

I like meatballs. They weren't something that I experienced much of when I was growing up, but we certainly had ground meat patties (usually beef) and sauce, and that is certainly in the same family. Little meatballs, though...that was more work, although I doubt that my mother (who was willing to make individual meat pies with two-crusts and full crimping for our family of five) was afraid of a few minutes' more work. Perhaps she was merely constitutionally averse to the meatball notion, for some reason.

I don't usually use a recipe to make meatballs, but I do try to stick in some sort of flavour-family, and that occasionally requires some sort of organizational decision making. While I once made "Christmas Dinner meatballs" (although for a Christmas party, not for our actual Christmas dinner, I confess) using ground turkey, dried cranberries, and stuffing-seasoned breadcrumbs...if I could have found a way to get yams and brussels sprouts in there, I would have...I usually go with a more "what's around the house" mandate.

They always have garlic. They usually have some sort of egg or egg white binding them together. They always have more seasoning than simply salt and pepper. Sometimes I serve them on spaghetti, in the classic Italian-American fashion, reserving any leftovers for sub sandwiches the next day, but sometimes I like to explore the other alternatives. Most cuisines have something along the lines of meatballs, all varying in size, composition, and serving format. Even my filling recipe for gyoza - is something along the lines of an Asian meatball wrapped in dough.

The above-shown meatballs were a stab at cuisine from northern Europe. I was going something for a Danish feel, borrowing heavily from frikadeller, but I felt compelled to jump-up the seasoning a little with some powdered mustard seed and a wee pinch of allspice. The accompaniment was Red Cabbage with Apples, mushroom sour cream gravy, and basmati rice (my standard, go-to rice around the house). The base for the meatballs was a pound of lean ground pork seasoned with salt, pepper, the above-mentioned mustard seed and allspice, some grated garlic, dried breadcrumbs (panko), a good splash of heavy cream, and an egg-white. Fried in butter, because I am told that is the correct way, but with a little splash of canola oil to help keep the butter from burning.

While I can't make any claims to authenticity of a Danish meal (since the Danish half of my household would certainly set me straight if I did), it did have a lovely, northern European comfort food vibe about it, and was pretty darn tasty. The leftovers warmed up pretty well for lunch the next day, eliciting stares and sighs and outright drooling in the lunchroom. I bet they would have made a pretty good sub, too.

5 comments:

michelle @ the smackdown said...

i'll take that as a sub, with extra sauce for dipping, please!

Dawna said...

Oooh! Extra sauce for dipping...you know, I hadn't even thought of that. Splendid idea!

Sophie said...

Yum I love meatballs...I make these things all the time, with different sauces. I especially love meatball sandwiches -- very tasty pic, by the way :D.

Dave G said...

About how much mustard seed and allspice for a pound of ground pork?

Dawna said...

Hi Sophie - yes, meatball sandwiches = yum! Varying the sauce gives you so many possibilities...

Hi Dave G - I used about an eighth of a teaspoon ground mustard seed and a little less than that of allspice for a pound. You can always put a little bit in, and fry up a mini "sample ball" to see if the spices are strong enough for you. You can always add more...