Some stuff has to be made at the last minute, but others, like the hot and spicy ketchup that I am going to use to make the spicy garlic-pepper sauce that I am going to use for the sauce for the cocktail meatballs can easily be made in advance.
As can the meatballs…
20 ounces of ground turkey, 1-1/2 pound of lean, freshly ground beef, and about 3/4 pound of ground sirloin combined with some buttermilk, home made breadcrumbs, veggies, and spices to make 60 meatballs, to be exact – with a few extra for taste testing to be certain the seasonings were right.
•3 to 3-1/2 lb ground meat
– you can use the combination of turkey and beef I did, or add pork and veal to the mix
•3 onions, diced
•3 garlic cloves, crushed
•Celery, carrots, green and/or red peppers, diced, to make about 6 cups of veggies with the onion and garlic
•Good olive oil
•2 tsp seasoned salt
•2 tsp pepper
•2 tsp paprika
•2 tsp dried parsley
•1 tsp crushed red pepper
•1 tsp granulated garlic
•1/2 tsp Colman’s dry mustard
•Scant 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
•2/3 cup breadcrumbs
•2 cups buttermilk
Heat the oil in a large pot of medium heat and cook the veggies until tender, and until most of the liquid has been cooked away – about 30 minutes – then transfer to a colander to drain and cool completely.
Pour the buttermilk over the breadcrumbs in another bowl and set aside to rest for 5 minutes or so – the crumbs will soak up the buttermilk and you’ll end up with a thick, porridge-like mixture.
Add the seasonings, the breadcrumb and buttermilk mixture, and the cheese to the meat and veggies in the bowl and mix. Let’s face it, the only really good way to do this is with your hands, so you may as well just grit your teeth, roll up your sleeves, and get it over with.
I like my meatballs to be really finely textured, and so run the whole mess, in batches, through the food processor one more time. I find that this also helps to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients and seasonings.
Heat a small frying pan over medium high heat and cook a small amount of your meatball mixture so that you can adjust your seasonings, if needed.
Mine were perfect. Nicely seasoned, but without a strong, distinct flavor. Since this recipe makes a lot more meatballs than I would normally use at one time, I like to avoid flavoring them with anything that would make them only suitable for one type of dish – think spaghetti and meatballs vs. Meatball Stroganoff vs. Pineapple Barbecue meatballs vs. what I am planning for these.
Meatballs taste tested and approved, it’s time to make some balls o’ meat – I used a 2 tablespoon metal scoop.
Heat oven to 350º, and line 4 baking pans with foil – I used 13×9 inch Pyrex pans.
Arrange the pans on two racks in your hot oven and bake for 2o minutes, then remove from the oven, turn the meatballs, and return to the oven, rotating the pans so that those that were on the top rack are on the bottom, for another another 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven (for good, this time) and allow to cool.
You can use them now, or, as I normally do, pop the meatballs in freezer bags in convenient serving sizes – I did three bags of 20 – and pop ’em in the freezer to await whatever use you have in mind for them.
These are going to be served in a spiced grape jelly sauce – look for that recipe in a week or two.