Monday, April 11, 2011

Beef meatballs, with no spaghetti

There are pizza restaurants, whose specialty is pizza, even though they usually have a few side dishes. Not healthy enough?

Well, don’t despair, there are meatball restaurants too. I know of at least one, The Meatball Shop, on 84 Stanton Street, in New York City.

Finally a restaurant that elevates the "lowly" meatball to its well deserved place!

Meatballs are delicious, easy to prepare, and you can use quite a variety of meats to do them. Below is a simple recipe. We used ground grass-fed beef, not because of omega-6 concerns (see this post), but because of the different taste.

- Prepare some dry seasoning powder by mixing sea salt, parsley, garlic power, chili powder, and a small amount of cayenne pepper.
- Thoroughly mix 1 pound of ground beef, one or two eggs, and the seasoning powder.
- Make about 10 meatballs, and place them in a frying pan with a small amount of water (see picture below).
- Cover the pan and cook on low fire for about 1 hour.


There is no need for any oil in the pan. On a low fire the small amount of water at the bottom will heat up, circulate, and essentially steam the meatballs. The water will also prevent the meatballs from sticking to the pan. Some moisture will also be released by the meat.

Part of the fat from the meat will be released and accumulate at the bottom of the pan. If you add tomato sauce and mix, the fat will become part of the resulting red sauce. This sauce will add moisture back to the dish, as the meatballs sometimes get a bit dry from the cooking.

Five meatballs of the type that we used (about 15 percent fat) will have about 57 g of protein and 32 g of fat; the latter mostly saturated and monounsaturated (both healthy). They will also be a good source of vitamins B12 and B6, niacin, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.

Add a fruit or a sweet potato as a side dish to 3-5 meatballs and you have a delicious and nutritious meal that may eve impress some people!

12 comments:

praguestepchild said...

Meatballs rock, Ned.

I prefer to make them them smaller and cook them in plenty of lard or lard/butter, starting on medium to high to thoroughly brown and crunchify them, then finish them off on low.

But it's all a matter of taste, of course.

Aaron Blaisdell said...

Awesome! I'm going to try your recipe the first chance I get (as soon as the in-laws go back home and I get my kitchen back). I tend to avoid meatballs (and meatloaf) made at restaurants because they invariably include wheat of some kind, such as bread crumbs.

Ned Kock said...

Hi Sean. Lard is great, but hard to find in non-hydrogenated form around here.

Ned Kock said...

Hi Aaron. You are right about the wheat added; sometimes sugar too. Often they are cooked with something that contains a lot of your favorite thing – linoleic acid ;-)

Aaron Blaisdell said...

You're right, Ned. I'm getting a swollen belly just thinking about all those rancid n6 FAs being soaked up into the gluten-and-sugar-filled meatballs at my favorite restaurant: California Pizza Kitchen! YUM!

Rick said...

Sounds great! I'll make this tonight!

Anonymous said...

I've never done it this way! It's a good method when you want to avoid added fats.

malpaz said...

mmmmm meatballs, they are always my fallback food when im feelin lazy b/c you can make them in so many varities. i love making cajun spiced meatballs from beef, and fennel spiked from pork. i can make meatballs all week because theres so much variety for them! just pick a season blend to suit your desire, buy whats on sale, if its lean add tallow/ghee/butter and if youre feelin facy throw some organs in the grinding(i like to grind my own meat) and you get more nutrient bang for the buck!

Ned Kock said...

Hi Mal. That’s what I need to do – grind my own meat. This way I too can have a mix of organ + muscle meat, which I think is a great idea.

Henriette said...

What do you consider to be the difference between chili powder and cayenne pepper?

Puzzled ...

Ned Kock said...

Hi Henriette. The cayenne, at least the one I use, is MUCH hotter than the CP.

safemeds said...

This sauce was very easy to make and quite delicious. I do agree with some reviews that the meatballs were a bit bland, but to each his own, my husband liked them. I will never use bottled sauce again, that's for sure. Note: to others who who mentionned they substituted turkey or other poultry for ground beef ... you are never supposed to use breadcrumbs, that type of meat is quite dry, breadcrumbs only makes it worse!