How to prepare the perfect meatball

The recipe for the perfect meatball. Recently speaking with Enri, my editor and friend in Larousse told me that he is in love with meatballs, one of the meat recipes that he prepares the most at home and that succeeds among his children.

Not only is he passionate about this type of meatloaf meatballs , balls or as they call outside our borders, meatballs … many of you you visit our recipes for this delicacy.

So much so that we are preparing an article with a selection of the best meatball recipes (which I will publish next week) not only meat, but also  fish , seafood or tomato meatballs , a great vegetarian option widely consumed in the kitchen Greek.

The meatballs are considered the homemade dish par excellence, with a somewhat neglected category and they deserve to go up to the altar and prepare them as they deserve, with dignity and respect.

For this reason and after writing a few emails answering questions about them, I decided to write how to prepare my perfect meatball , very similar to the one my mother taught me but with touches that I have been learning here and there.

After reading this post, you will be able to distinguish the quality of the ball that they put on your plate and, of course, surprise your mother-in-law with those that you prepare yourself.

Luckily for meatloafers, meatball is all the rage and may be the next foodie trend, so maybe you should start educating yourself on the art of meat pellets. We share all our secrets so that your meatballs are just perfect and are delicious.

Top 10 tips for a yummy meatball

  1. The base of our meatball . The meatball is not a recipe for using waste from other recipes, no meat or crappy fish and lots of sauce to hide flavors. Use quality product that is at least decent and if possible pieces that your trusted butcher or fishmonger chops just once, no extra-pureed pink mash. The more ground the meat is, the more compact and stiff the ball will be. And it is that the best-known meatballs are meat, although curiously they are not the most successful on the blog. The greatest number of visits is in the cod meatballs and of course chopping the fish just right, we want to find cod inside, not just intuit it. So fish, shellfish, or vegetable balls are a great option.
  2. What if they are meat? If you use meat it must be freshly minced or ground, preferably very finely minced and never put to freeze and thaw as it would lose many of its nutrients and part of its flavor. To make meatballs not any meat is worth, especially if they are cooked with sauce. It is advisable to choose pieces that have a percentage of fat not too low, the ideal mixture would be three parts of veal and one of pork, so you will have more tasty meatballs. It is a recommendation although it is not strictly necessary, remember that not any meat is worth it, although chicken is another option so that they are juicy. Always use top quality products and it will be difficult for you to go wrong.
  3. What do we combine meat with? Binders . In order for a meatball not to fall apart when preparing it, it needs edible glue, it requires the fat and moisture of the egg yolk. Another total loctite element is the combination of bread (gluten-free if you are celiac) in milk or broth, very important for a good ball. The bread crumb dipped in milk is a fundamental ingredient to get a perfect meatball, since the dairy softens the meat and the crumb gives texture. You can substitute milk for reduced broth as a flavor enhancer, both meat and fish, but my first option is to dip the bread in milk. When we use flour or breadcrumbs only (many of you, I know from your emails you use it), the meatball will tend to be hard and dry as a stone, so it is not a great idea.
  4. Give it our touch. Spices and flavorings . A meatball without a little joy is not a meatball, for this it is essential to bring more flavors with our friends the spices. The most used are a touch of garlic, salt, black or white pepper, with this trio we have enough, but we can also add thyme, parsley, rosemary and oregano. Of course you can use whatever you want, as long as they fit well with the rest of the ingredients. You can also add spices to the cooking broth or stew in which you are going to put the meatballs regardless of whether you have put spices on them.
  5. The kneading and the shape of the balls . The preparation is softer, the less we knead it, preferably use a good spatula to unite in the bowl when we put all the ingredients together. This technique helps fat stay inside meatballs and also causes meat proteins to bind better, preventing meatballs from cracking when frying. To make the balls the best thing is to shape it with your hands, if with your hands, nothing to use spoons as in the croquettes. It is meat and the hands can be washed, it is best to moisten them from time to time so that a lot of them does not stick to the hands and we have to throw away nothing. The resulting mixture has to be more humid than dry. Remember that if the dough we start with is too dry, it will dry even more with cooking.
  6. What shape and size should a meatball have? It all depends, as the song says. The attraction of meatballs lies in their flavor, their tender and juicy texture and of course in their size, which always matters (don’t be fooled). The ideal size is that of a bite, which makes them easier to incorporate into any dish or serve alone, to store and freeze and to modify as we wish. The meatballs have to be spherical, of a small size (if they are very large, they are called “balls”), they must keep their shape at all times, if something fails (reread the previous steps).
  7. How should the batter be? For most meatballs, a light batter only with flour or cornstarch is recommended if you are celiac to help them retain their shape. The batter serves as a caking agent and gives us elasticity to the dough thanks to the gluten it contains, although I have tried some flours such as corn, chickpeas or soybeans and the result is also optimal.
  8. Cooking The frying pan or the oven? . The meatballs must inevitably be well cooked, otherwise they would release the blood into the sauce, causing a bad taste in the sauce and altering its quality. It is advisable to fry them over medium heat, not high, so that they do not burn on the outside and are raw inside. Although frying is not essential to achieve a good meatball. A good plan is the oven, an alternative that helps them to be lighter. In any case, the important thing is not to overdo the cooking times: a quick fry and a short stew / bake (about 30 minutes) at a mild temperature makes the difference.
  9. The finished in sauce or God knows . There are hundreds of types of stews in which meatballs can be incorporated and hundreds of variations of these, although what they like and succeed on the blog are the following. With sauce, whether Spanish, onion or the classic tomato, its enhancing effect accompanies and helps give it the perfect touch, with exotic flavors such as coconut milk and curry sauce, the famous green sauces with parsley or seafood (in the case of fish), as part of a stew, broth or soups, accompanying some spaghetti, alone, grilled or grilled … you see that there are options to not get bored. My recommendation is in sauce with a little white rice or fried potatoes, but I leave it to your liking.  monkei bar meatloaf
  10. Make fashionable our friends the balls . Yes, do not cut yourself, not only prepare it at home, also go out to eat them. The meatball cult is worthy of awards and accolades. Of those that I have tried in Madrid I stick to the meatballs “A Tu Bola” and “Bolero Meatballs” and the classic “De La Riva”, where well-deserved worship of its most traditional version, very similar in its flavor to the meatballs of the “Tasquita de Enfrente” where Juanjo López takes tradition to its maximum expression. However, I surrender to those served by Abraham García in “Comala”, Iberian pork in Mexican sauce, some small, spicy and very tender meatballs. In my hometown, Ourense, of course with those of Casa Toñita, which are the ones of a lifetime and the meatballs of deer, a tapas of the good in “A Casita del pulpo”. Those from the “Monkeys Burger Bar” in Sant Joan Despí or the balls from “A tu bola” by the cook Shira that you will find at the Raval in Barcelona. There are many more that you will surely recommend me on facebook.

Meatballs are cheap, versatile, they last long in sauce and are perfect for people who refuse to eat badly. If you want to add any advice, recommendation or place where you eat the best # meatballs in Spain, be sure to send me an email to [email protected] We will gradually complete to make this post the guide to a meatball meatball.

Your recommendations and advice

  • Sonia Calvo tells me in her email, how to make the meatballs juicier when preparing for a celiac? “The bread crumb without gluten does not have the texture of the glutenera, so dip it in what you dip. I mix the minced meat with the cooked potato passed through the mash, so I can put a couple of potatoes not too big for half a kilo of minced meat; Then I add the salt and spices that are used (I don’t put an egg) and I batter them in corn flour (yellow) before frying them. I saw the trick of the potato I did to Arguiñano many years ago and when I began to experiment with the gluten-free theme I remembered and at least in this family they are the ones they like the most. Then aside and simply because we like it, many times I add olives or chopped pickles to the meat mixture.
  • José Manuel Barro tells me that “in Morocco he found some divine meatballs with crumbled sardines, with garlic and parsley or coriander and a mixture of spices as only they know how to mix them.” José, in the blog you have some very similar mackerel dumplings , I hope you like them.

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