Last month I came up with this little recipe in order to participate in a Spaghetti Western fundraiser…you can’t do a pasta event without meatballs, right? Turns out, the meatballs were a hit and, since my husband missed that event, I decided to whip some more together yesterday. This time I had the foresight to take photos and share the recipe with you, the talented and wildly attractive interwebs.
1/2 pound each: bacon, ground beef, and ground turkey*
2 large eggs
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 tsp. each: black pepper, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder
*Any ground meats will do…pork, lamb, veal. Just be sure to use equal parts of each.
Roughly chop bacon and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend until bacon is a paste-like consistency. Remove from processor and place in a large bowl with other ground meats. Add eggs, spices and bread crumbs and mix well with a silicone spatula. (Or use your hands…they’ll get plenty goopy once you start forming the meatballs anyway.)
Once ingredients are well-mixed, form a small portion of the mixture into a patty and fry it in a skillet until cooked through. Taste the patty; adjust seasonings to taste. I think the bacon gives the meat plenty of salt flavor, but you may wish to add salt or, if you prefer a spicier meatball, a little more cayenne.
Form meat mixture into 2 inch balls. Add to skillet in batches and brown on all sides. (Mine always go from balls to weird boxy shapes while browning…anyone know how to keep them round??) Once browned, you have two options for completing cooking:
1) place all meatballs in baking pan and bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or
2) add to a sauce pan with your favorite pasta sauce, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
This recipe makes 20-24 meatballs. I think that by using 1/3 bacon, you get the meaty consistency you want in a meatball, but the salty, smokey flavor still has a chance to shine through. Also, when using very lean meats like ground turkey, the bacon lends the fat content you need to make sure the meat stays tender and juicy throughout the cooking process.
The best news about this recipe is that it makes way too many meatballs for two people to eat in one sitting… meatball sandwich, anyone?