Monday, May 25, 2015

Notes: Tender and Juicy Slow Cooker Meatballs

25 May 2015

  • Recipe from Serious Eats; preparation time about 80 minutes.
  • Several changes were made to the recipe:
    • I used milk instead of buttermilk for the panade, so I wouldn't have a lot of leftover buttermilk.
    • By coincidence I used buttermilk sandwich bread, though I doubt that makes any difference.
    • The recipe calls for 1 pound ground beef (25% fat) and 1¼ pound ground pork (25% fat). Because of what was available at the supermarket I used 1¼ pound ground beef (20% fat) and 1 pound ground pork (5 % fat)
    • I used vegetable oil in place of olive oil.
    • The tomatoes were whole peeled plum tomatoes. The recipe said these should be crushed by hand. I imagined using my hands to squeeze the tomatoes one by one but instead I added them to the Dutch oven and crushed them with a potato masher.
    • The recipe did not specify what to do with the juice from the tomatoes. I was leaning towards discarding it. Finding a comment on the recipe web page saying the sauce was thin clinched it for me and I drained the tomatoes before using them.
    • The ingredient list included a sprig of basil. Not only do I not know how much is in a "sprig" but the instructions didn't say what to do with the basil. I skipped the basil.
  • I used a #24 disher (almost 3 tablespoons) to make 20 meatballs. There was still meat left over which I cooked in some oil and added to the sauce in the crock pot.
  • I made a sourdough version of almost no-knead bread. I replaced ¼-cup of water with ¼-cup of sourdough starter. I made no other changes to the recipe, including the yeast, beer, and vinegar.
  • Served with salad (made with Earthbound Farms Spring Mix, tomato, peanuts, and dressing) and Chianti.

  • The bread was very good: good texture, good crust, good flavor. 
  • The sauce was runny and didn't adhere to the pasta. Since the juice that I drained was thick, perhaps it should have been included?
  • I would omit the red pepper flakes, not because they made the sauce too spicy but because the flavor is so strong it obscures the other flavors.
  • The meat balls were tender and flavorful. I am glad I took the time to brown them under the broiler as I am not sure they would have cooked through with 30 minutes in the sauce.
  • We had two meatballs each so the recipe should make 10 servings. We'll see how the sauce holds up.

Eat leftovers
  • I liked this much more as leftovers. The heat from the red pepper flakes had dissipated so the other flavors shone through. The sauce, however, still does not coat the pasta even after further cooking to thicken it up.
  • We have had this food for dinner three times and there are two more meals stored in the freezer.

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