Meatballs . . . They're Not Just for Spaghetti Anymore!
Believe it or not, meatballs have become “all the rage” in culinary circles lately. Today they come in more varieties than your grandmother could have imagined.
There are even meatball restaurants that serve nothing but meatballs. The Meatball Shop in New York City; Marabella Meatball Company in Philadelphia; The Meatball Stop in Las Vegas; and Zenos Meatball Kitchen in Dallas are a few of the more popular meatball restaurants around the country. In establishments like these, it’s possible to get meatballs made from almost any meat, poultry, or ground seafood (some of them even offer a vegetable version), served in sandwiches, salads, soups, or alone with your favorite sauce. Those sauces might range from San Marzano Tomato, to pesto, cheese, barbecue, salsa, and vinaigrette.
This seems to be a new trend in the culinary world, but it isn’t news to us at MorningStar Kitchen. We’ve been working for years in our Test Kitchen to perfect ‘the meatball.’ It’s one of our favorite dishes to serve – in one version or another – and we often create special occasions as an excuse serve them. Our crew and guests have come to look forward to those events and even request our meatballs when an occasion arises.
While we give ourselves license to add different ingredients, we do follow some basic guidelines when making any meatball. For example, we always mix the breadcrumbs and milk together, then let the mixture stand for a few minutes before adding it to the meat. And we work quickly and gently to combine the mixture and roll it into balls, so as not to overwork the mixture. Overworking the mixture leads to tough meatballs.
We often use some of our favorite MorningStar seasonings in making the meatballs. Seasonings like Mediterranean, Shepherds Kitchen, Fowlers Seasoning, Bazaar, and Chimichurri. We use those seasonings judiciously to enhance and balance the flavors we’re trying to achieve.
Over the years we’ve developed some real meatball favorites. Some of those include:
Classic Italian: made from beef, pork, and veal (sometimes we grind these to use in our lasagna).
Lamb: served as an appetizer with some tzatziki or hummus on the side. Or else used to make gyros.
Greek: made with onions, garlic, black pepper, and feta cheese.
Farm Fresh Turkey: made with grated zucchini, carrots, and onions (and maybe some minced kale).
Chimichurri: cocktail meatballs served with barbecue sauce.
Venison: made with pork and seasoned with our Great Lakes seasoning.
Of all the meatballs we’ve created at MorningStar, my personal favorite are our Breakfast version. These are our Northern tribute to the classic Southern sausage gravy. made with pork, sausage, our Vermont Woods seasoning, and sometimes a little Vermont cheddar cheese.
They’re great served alongside a quiche or topped with over-easy eggs; but we often make a sausage gravy from the meatball pan drippings and serve them with either biscuits or savory waffles.
Don’t be timid! Start by trying some of our meatballs, and then venture out creating some that have your own Signature on them. You’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll amaze your guests in the process!
Check out some of our meatball recipes at www.morningstarkitchen.com/recipes.