Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce

I make these meat "balls" as small patties so they I can get them nice and crispy on both sides without worrying about overcooking them. They stay moist for several reasons: the soaked bread crumbs, the large amount of eggs, and the quick braise at the end of cooking. Of course, all these things make them taste pretty luxurious too. I'm pretty sure you'll never go back to regular boring meatballs after making these.

I ground the meat myself, as you'll see in the instructions. If you'd rather not do that (though I highly recommend it), feel free to use pre-ground beef and pork.


Makes 4 servings (about 12 patties total)
Total Time: about 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb boneless round steak
  • 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder meat
  • 3/4 C stale bread, cut into small cubes (get rid of any tough pieces of crust)
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp thinly sliced basil
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 C red wine
  • 1 C beef stock

Procedure:

Cut the beef and pork into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a single on a sheet pan. Put in the freezer for 15 minutes, or until the cubes are solid but not completely frozen. Dump the meat into a food processor and pulse until ground.

Meanwhile, put the bread cubes in a small bowl and cover with the milk. Let soak for 10 minutes or so.

Transfer the meat into a large mixing bowl, along with the eggs, salt, pepper, herbs, cheese, and garlic. Squeeze out the milk from the bread cubs and crumble into the meat mixture. Save milk for another use (for cereal, a strata, etc.). With your hand, combine the meat mixture until all ingredients are well incorporated. Divide the mixture into twelve portions, shape into balls, and gently flatten into thick patties. As you finish shaping each patty, place on a large plate dusted with half of the flour. Sprinkle the other half of the flour on the top of the patties.

Heat the wine and stock in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The liquid should be simmering gently as you brown the meatballs.

In a separate large skillet melt the butter in the oil over high heat. Gently place 6 patties in the hot fat to brown (about 2-3 minutes per side). When browned but not completely cooked through, transfer the patties to the hot wine/stock. Braise for about 5 minutes, spooning the sauce over the meatballs as they cook. Transfer to a platter for serving. Repeat the browning and braising process with the remaining meatballs. If you'd like, you can reduce the sauce by turning up the heat and then spoon over the meatballs at the table.

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