Bittman's Meatballs

My mother used to make meatballs that were mainly just meat.  In balls.  Fried.

They were tough little meatballs.  So, when I found tasty soft turkey meatballs could be had in the freezer section at Trader Joe's I thought I had my meatballs covered.  It was a good solution for many years.

Recently though, I decided to tackle homemade meatballs.  The secret is a French technique where you soak breadcrumbs in milk and add it to the meat mixture. It keeps the meatballs soft and moist.  Not rock-like.  (But, I'll bet you already knew that.) Try it.

Bittman's Meatballs
Makes 8 servings
From How to Cook Everything

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 pounds of ground meat: mix together any of the following--beef, lamb, turkey or pork
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 egg, beaten
Pinch allspice or cinnamon
1 Tblsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half and half

Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 5 minutes.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl combine the wet breadcrumbs, onion, meat, salt, pepper, parsley, egg and allspice or cinnamon.  Shape balls into 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Cook the meatballs in a skillet or roast them in the oven at 375 degrees.  They are done when their internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  (About 20-30 minutes in the oven).

To make the sauce: use a tablespoon or two of the fat from the meatballs and combine with the flour in a skillet for a minute.  Over medium-high heat add the chicken broth and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.  Stir in the cream, reduce the heat to medium and cook another 2 minutes until the sauce is smooth, golden brown and slightly thickened.  Pour sauce over the meatballs and serve.