Archive for October 5th, 2011

5th October
written by Loren

In terms of classic tried and true cookbooks, the Joy of Cooking is right up there with the best. It’s the size of an unabridged encyclopedia and carries about the same amount of information. Recipe’s from scallop ceviche to saltwater taffy and everything in between, culinary techniques, chemistry lessons, cocktail notes, conversion tables, and cooking temperatures are just a small sampling of what you can find in this 1130 page tome. Whenever I have a particular idea in mind of something I want to try making, I can rely on two things: 1) The Joy of Cooking will have some version of that recipe I’m looking for and 2) That recipe will be a solid interpretation of the dish at hand, with good reasoning as to why certain steps are taken or ingredients used. The JOC recipe might not always be identical to the final version I decide that I like, but it’s always a good start.

To start what I hope becomes another recurring series on this foodiest of blogs, I’m sharing the Italian Meatball recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Ingredients are as follows:

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano (I substituted 1/2 tsp of minced fresh oregano and 1/2 tsp of minced fresh sage. In hindsight, I probably should have doubled those amounts)
Mix everything together thoroughly with your hands, then form them into 2-inch balls. Dredge the meatballs with 1/2 cup of all purpose flower with a bit more salt and pepper mixed in. Then heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches, place on a baking pan and finish in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Now, these meatballs were pretty good. But they lacked a certain succulence and flavor which I normally associate with meatballs. This reinforced my preexisting opinion, for a really good meatball you need a blend of meats. My choice is to mix it half beef and half spicy Italian sausage. I also think the onion needs to be cut back a little bit. Overall though, this recipe is a great starting point, and the red wine definitely added a nice background flavor.