Chic holiday meatballs

3

PREP TIME

45 min

Makes

9 -1/2 dozen meatballs

* PLUS Baking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bread , preferably day-old
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 kg ground beef , preferably lean
  • 500 g ground pork , preferably lean

Instructions

  • Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with foil. Tear bread, including crusts, into bite-size pieces. Place in a medium-size bowl. Stir in pasta sauce. Let stand until bread soaks up sauce, about 5 minutes, then mash with a fork to form a paste. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk eggs. Finely chop onion. Stir into eggs along with salt and pepper. Crumble in beef and pork. Add mashed bread. Using your hands, gently mix.
  • For even cooking, arrange racks in bottom and top thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Shape meat mixture into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls and place on 2 baking sheets. Rinse hands occasionally as damp hands make it easier to form balls. Leave about 1/2 inch (1 cm) between meatballs. (If meatballs don’t fit on 2 sheets, cover and refrigerate remaining meatballs, then bake once first batch is done.)
  • Bake in preheated oven, rotating sheets halfway through cooking, until meatballs are lightly browned and firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t have to turn meatballs. Place baked hot meatballs in a serving dish and provide toothpicks. Great with extra pasta sauce, herbed sour cream or chutney for dipping.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 85,
  • Protein
  • 7.7 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 2 g,
  • Fat
  • 5 g,
  • Fibre
  • 0.2 g,
  • Sodium
  • 125 mg.

The basic recipe for these juicy meatballs is terrific on its own, but since the recipe makes a lot, we’ve designed it so you can divide it into three parts and easily treat your guests to exotic Moroccan, spicy Italian and Spanish-style meatballs with olives.

Spicy Italian meatballs

Stir in 3 finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, 2 thinly sliced green onions and 1 tsp (5 mL) each Italian seasoning and hot red pepper flakes. Continue at step 2.

Spanish meatballs

Stir in finely chopped 1/2 green pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives. Continue at step 2.

Moroccan meatballs

Stir in 1 tsp (5 mL) each ground cumin and paprika, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each ground ginger and cinnamon and 1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped fresh coriander. Continue at step 2.

Variations

Prepare meat mixture. Divide into 3 equal portions and place in separate bowls. Gently stir the following ingredients into each. To flavour entire 3 lbs (1.5 kg) with one of these, triple the amounts given.

Make ahead

Prepare meatballs and place on rimmed baking sheets. Don’t bake. Freeze just until firm, then tumble into large plastic bags and return to freezer. Before serving, arrange frozen unbaked meatballs on foil-lined, rimmed baking sheets. Bake, following recipe above, but add an extra 5 to 7 minutes.