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    Sunday, March 28, 2010
    Academy Award™ Meatballs

    Okay, it's recipe time again. Recently I decided to make meatballs for a party and was pleased with my efforts, so thought I would post my recipe here. The title comes from the fact that I made it for an Oscar™ party, but I got the recipe from About.com. I altered it a bit to serve with homemade barbecue sauce. (Sorry about the trademarks, but those Academy people play hardball if you don't use them.)

    Here's my big issue with most meatball recipes: they assume you're going to be serving an Italianate type dish, such as meatball sandwiches or spaghetti and meatballs. I was looking for the sort of meatball you could serve as a Swedish meatball or with barbecue sauce - a gender neutral meatball, if you will. I found one online; here is the original recipe, and here is what I did.

    Academy Award™ Meatballs

    1 beaten egg
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
    1 large carrot, finely shredded (if you don't have a Microplane grater, this recipe is a really good reason to get one. The coarse grater will not do here.)
    2 pounds ground turkey, ground chicken or lean ground beef

    Before you start to mix, get out a large Dutch oven and mix all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in it [see below] but don't start cooking yet. Take a large plate and line it with paper towels to drain the meatballs. Get out your frying pan and put a small amount of cooking oil in it. (I was making beef meatballs, and used a nonstick pan, so used no oil and they were fine.)

    Now combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl, wash your hands, and go to town. Smoosh the ingredients until well combined. Turn on the heat under the barbecue sauce and the frying pan, and start rolling your meatballs (slightly smaller than Ping-Pong ball size). What you will do is the following: drop a batch of meatballs into the pan and brown them on all sides. You are not trying to cook them through - just brown them. Drain on the paper towels and then throw them into the simmering barbecue sauce. Repeat with successive batches of meatballs. Cook the meatballs for at least 45 minutes, or you can cook longer, which is nice if you're having a party and want to make this in advance. I highly recommend using a flame tamer if you're going to cook them longer.

    This recipe will make more meatballs than will fit in the sauce, so take the final batch of browned meatballs and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Put in the freezer till frozen, then bag them in a Zip-Lock freezer bag and put them back into the freezer. Hooray, you have extra meatballs to cook up on a moment's notice!

    The barbecue sauce is courtesy of Peg Bracken, of blessed memory. She is the author of The I Hate to Cook Book, the first cookbook I ever read. Despite the title the recipes are surprisingly good and reliable. I actually found the recipe for the sauce in The I Hate to Housekeep Book, which also contains several good recipes. (As Peg says, cooking and housekeeping are inextricably intertwined.) Here we go:

    1 bottle Heinz chili sauce - this comes in a bottle that looks a lot like ketchup and is not highly spiced at all. It's my secret weapon for barbecue sauce and meatloaf.
    2/3 cup water - put it into the emptied chili sauce bottle and shake it around well to rinse out all that Heinz goodness.
    1/4 cup vinegar, cider or plain white distilled
    1 tsp prepared mustard
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp onion salt or garlic salt or celery salt (I used 1/4 tsp celery salt and 1/4 tsp each garlic powder and onion flakes)

    Combine all of the above and simmer on very low heat for at least 15 minutes. You can then use it on barbecued meat or for the meatballs.




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