JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Meatballs: a question

The question is: do you fry your meatballs? Or not?

Last night, the secrets of my cheating kitchen were out. I made the meatball sauce before everyone arrived (I can hardly bear to tell you ... slowly sweated huge quantity of pre-chopped onions together with pre-cubed carrot and swede, then added commercial tomato-y pasta sauce), but I hadn't lobbed in the meatballs. So the kitchen was full of people to watch my mass-catering shame. Ready-made meatballs chucked straight from the packet into the sauce.

This sparked a bit of a conversation ..."I'd never have thought to do that." "I always fry my meatballs first," etc etc. Me thinking, I wish I'd made these myself, I wish the sauce was more carefully made.

But we set it on the table, together with baked potatoes and the remains of the lunch picnic, and whoosh - it vanished in moments, a momentary lull in the ceaseless chatter of "my" crew, their parents, and my family (husband, children, parents, sister-from-America-with-her-three-boys). Then out for a game of rounders in the fast-fading light. It wasn't about the food.

8 comments:

Kiriel du Papillon said...

I bake mine; most mincemeat has enough fat in it without being cooked in a pool of it! When doing bulk catering I microwave them; if so, I tend to add a little mushroom soy to the mix to give the mix a bit of extra colour, as the microwave cooking results in them looking a bit pallid.

katiez said...

I cook mine right in the sauce, same as you. The mince we get here is quite dry. I can't even brown it without adding oil so I don't feel at all bad about tossing them in the sauce! Not to mention how easy....

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I use to fry them. Gave that up - too much fat and mess. They do better baked or straight into the sauce. More often than no I use a hot Italian chicken sausage (that I get at Whole Foods) to make my meat balls.

Joanna said...

So glad it's not just me - but I'm the queen of the shortcuts, especially when there are lots of people to feed.

However, I'm looking forward to getting back to cooking for a few people with a bit more care and attention. There are lots of good meatball recipes in the Tapas book I bought at Books for Cooks with Tanna and co (see my post from 16th June, don't seem to be able to make a link from here)

Actually, they were fine unfried, it was the fact that they came out of a packet that was so particularly shaming!

Joanna

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Why do we beat ourselves up over things like this? They ate, they had fun and you fed them with home cooked food for most of the time! I expect the last thing on their minds was if the meatballs had come out of a packet. Probably more likely they were dying to get outside for a game of rounders. 'Til next year's regatta.

Toffeeapple said...

I have no doubt that your guests did not feel badly done by and am guessing that the meatballs would have had a good provenance?

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Don't fret over using premade meatballs...we all do it at some point or another!

And when I do make them from scratch...I bake them...it takes less time, so I am free to work on something else.

Ed Bruske said...

I know there are Italian cooks who swear by this method. Haven't had the courage to try it, but on your word, I will.