Wednesday, May 23, 2012

REAL Meatballs (Barefoot Contessa)

When I first saw the name of this recipe, I wonder how FAKE can meatballs be... LOL! 

I am always a veggie person and wish to be a vegetarian one day. However, living with my meat-lover husband and son make my "vegetarian wish" kind of impossible. I tried to cook meatless meals sometimes but my husband and son will pose to look weak if they see no meat on our dining table. LOL! 

For my family and curiosity, I am here cooking this to see how REAL these meatballs can be. 

Being a veggie person like me, I wonder if I'm critical and appreciative enough to differentiate how real these meatballs are. Although, I might not the best person to judge these meatballs, I can tell that my husband and son looked REAL-ly satisfied happy enjoying these meatballs without saying much. To my surprise too, even a "non-meatball" eater like me think these meatballs are actually REAL-ly good! 

These meatballs have a nice and juicy texture and didn't have an over-powering "meaty" taste. With this red wine tomato sauce, these meatballs are indeed REAL-ly REAL-ly REAL-ly yummy.

meatballs Barefoot Contessa

Making the meatballs
Cooking the red wine tomato sauce
Take a bite of the meatball... Delicious!
Here's recipe from Food Network
(with my modification in blue)

For the meatballs:

1/2 pound ground veal (replaced with ground pork) 
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
(both bread crumbs replaced with the fresh one bought from a local bakery)
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:

The red wine that I used
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti  
(I used Cabernet Sauvignon which is a great substitute for Chianti)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped (I used the crushed tomatoes)
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs (I made 55 bite-sized meatball with this recipe!).

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 min for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 min. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more min. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 min. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 min (I did mine for 25 min), until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Note: The meatballs and sauce were well-simmered for 25 min and I reckon most of the alcohol content of the wine used would have vaporised off with this long cooking time. I think this dish should be fine for little children consumptions.

Happy Cooking
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  1. I love homemade meatballs! I love that you can season them however you want to.

  2. Yum! Your meatballs look really delicious! I will gladly finish it and lick the plate clean as well!

  3. Looks really juicy, I always trusted Ina's recipes, she means business when it's about cooking.

  4. Hi! Blog hopping from Yvonne. Like the meatballs. So this is the REAL meatballs!

  5. The meatballs look juicy and tasty. I have to admit I have never made an Ina Garten recipe that didn't turn out fantastic. She's pretty awesome. I will have to give these a try. YUMMY.

  6. Meat balls in tomatoes sauce is definitely cooked for happy kids. My kids love everything in tomatoes sauce.

  7. I almost licked my screen ! lol Looks real indeed ! You could even make a patties out of these yumminess as a sandwich filling :D

  8. Delicious looking meatballs! My plate of Ina's salad would go well with this! I made some meatballs too last week, though it is not Ina's. Will post that next! Meatballs are always a favourite!

  9. Now we know "what real meat balls" are..thanx Zoe :D. Seriously though these look really good and juicy. My hubby would love it! He's a total meat person.

  10. LOL... I was just thinking the same thing when I read the title of your post!hahaha But I can see that these meatballs are REAL-ly tasty & juicy especially with red wine sauce! Sounds so delicious! Gotto try this out & again another great recipe from Ina Garten! I'm so in the mood to make another recipe of hers! Hopefully I can post it on time before the deadline! :)

  11. Not only your family enjoy this, I would too. The meatballs look so 'full' and juicy. MMmm..ship some over plllzzzz!

  12. Nice of you to make these for your family, even though they're not your thing. And you did a terrific job - now I'm hungry for meat balls! Good recipe, good pictures, just an all around good post - thanks.

  13. I love meatballs (whether they're real or not, LOL)..but I must say that these meatballs really look and sound so good especially with that sauce! I guess the 3 kinds of meat in it make it "real". :)

  14. That is one good looking meatball recipe;great combination. I can almost taste them.

  15. I am now your latest subsriber/follower. I can also learn a lot here and it all looks so delish! I was laughing when you said your hubby and son pose to look weak w/out any meat. LOL. My hubby is the exact same way! He's a veggie/meat/fish person. As long as I cook those, he's happy!

  16. Wow! I know my meat lovers boys would definitely want lots of these balls if I cook them....looks delicious!

  17. Yum!! Anything Ina makes is OK by me. These look delicious!!

  18. Hi Zoe. Thanks for answering my questions regarding the KA! I am seriously going to look into a bread maker.

    Its fall there right? This recipe reminds me of fall because I always make these in the fall and winter. They are so tasty. I also do not use the veal. I use 75% pork and 1 pound of buffalo (I think). I need to look at my recipe again and check out what ratios I used last. I was trying to make these a bit leaner by using the buffalo meat.

    I am the same as you, I could possibly become a vegetarian, but my 12 year old daughter is a total carnivore as well as my hubby. I made lentil meatballs tonight and my hubby happily ate them but my kids were not fans. It's hard when you want to eat one way but your family wants to eat another. I do make sure that we have at least 3 -4 meatless meals a week. I figure the more I keep introducing vegetarian entrees the more my family will accept and eat them.

    1. You are right, Jacquelyn. It is actually close to winter at Melbourne now and cooking and eating these meatballs is quite nice and comforting...

  19. I'm lucky to have a husband open to vegetarian meals every now and again.

  20. Can't go wrong with Ina!! these look divine!
    Mary x

  21. This is what I called the real delist and moist. I'm not sure whether Jamie's site have such a nice meatballs? Would love to try for July Cook like a Star.

  22. Those meatballs look so moist and delicious! Love your blog! Following you now :)

  23. From what I've seen Zoe, you have such a wonderful space here and lots of unique recipes. I nominated you and your blog for the "one Lovely Blog Award". Come by my blog, Blessings From My Kitchen to see the details. Thanks Zoe your lovely, inspiring recipes.

  24. I'm in the same boat...I live with 3 carnivores, so even though I could give up meat, I'd have to keep cooking it! Your meatballs look divine, Zoe...and i know my family would love them!

  25. The meatballs look delicious and I love the step-by-step photos!

  26. Yum, red wine and meatballs together sound so divine! This is definitely another meatball recipe I need to try :)

  27. i just saw joyce posting some meatballs too! both your versions are totally different but look equally good!i've ot tried using red wine in cooking, only white wine but it does sound good to try! have a lovely weekend, zoe!

  28. Hi Zoe, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  29. Meatballs got to be juicy and not dry. Yours looks exactly it. I would like sink my teeth in one right now.

  30. I love your emphasis on the word real :D
    I believe you though!

    Choc Chip Uru

  31. hi there, thks for stopping by! wow, this is such juicy and delicious looking meatballs! there goes your vegetarianism! thk you have to put it on hold for a while :). and i also thk i wld love to try this recipe soon. the red wine sauce looks super delicious. i'd probly go get some minced lamb and pork for this. yumm!!

  32. 好好吃的meatballs!

    yum! yum!

  33. yum. SO TEMPTING. Nom nom.

  34. yum. SO TEMPTING. Nom nom.

  35. What got me is the sauce for sure! It looks rich and so good. Must be the wine. And there are so many meatballs out there full of flour and breadcrumbs. Indeed yours is the "REAL" deal ;P

  36. They look irresistible!Have a lovely week,dear!