In Search of the Perfect Meatball


Please admit it. The meatball is one of the greatest inventions in the culinary world. You can add them to pasta, add them to soup, and make sandwiches out of them.

Even if you are a vegetarian or vegan and you eat meatless meatballs, the flexibility of the meatball makes it a favorite for a meal or a snack. It’s the shape and the size and the poaching in sauce or broth that imparts flavor and warmth.

(No scoffing from carnivores. Tofu meatballs with the proper combination of herbs and a miso-balsamic sauce can be tasty and have a fabulous texture.

Another example of the meatless meatball is the falafel with cucumber yogurt sauce. Everyone knows how good the garbanzo bean is, with its nutlike flavor.

The mushroom when finely minced with shallot, herbs and garlic makes a great meatless meatball, I digress. I will do a blog post with recipes for the meatless meatball in the near future.)

In Essential Puree, I gave you a family recipe passed down from my mother, a great traditional Italian cook famous for her meatballs. Her secret was not to pack the meatball too tightly. That, and the fine mince on the fresh parsley. There was an ongoing rivalry between my mother and my Aunt Lolly as to who made the better meatball. My mother never tired of announcing as she put her food on the table that hers were better than Aunt Lolly’s. We thought they were, but our cousins stuck up for their mother’s meatballs. This is not the place to resolve family disputes.

Quinoa-Pork Meatballs 

I discovered this Pork-Quinoa Meatball on the Food and Wine magazine website. I am passing it along because it is really tasty.

Essential Cooking Tips for the Puree Kitchen: Read This Before You Cook

Tip: Rinse your quinoa before cooking it or it will have a bitter taste. 

Tip: I don’t fry my meatballs in olive oil for the puree kitchen. I flash roast them in the oven at 450 degrees for twelve minutes on a rack in a pan. This way the air gets under the meatball and it cooks on all sides. I roast until golden brown and done.

The object of flash roasting in the oven is to eliminate the crisp caramelization on the surface that you get when you fry. You get the flavor with this cooking method.

Caramelization is not good for puree unless you use a nutrition extractor type blender such as the Nutribullet Rx or the NutriNinja. With the right tools, you can puree anything to a smooth liquid. Otherwise, if you must fry, then strain the puree through a metal sieve and remove any and all crispy bits.

Now Prep according to directions. When you are finished with the cooking, let the meatballs and sauce cool.

For the Puree

Two meatballs and a half a cup of sauce in the bowl of a food processor or the pitcher of your blender. The sauce should be a little warmer than room temperature. Not hot or you will have a big mess. If you want the taste of a meatball sandwich, add some grated parmesan cheese and the center pieces, without the crust, of a slice or two of Italian bread, cut into one inch cubes. This will thicken the mixture in the blender.

Image Courtesy of Antonio Foncubierta