My last recipe was for these crazy delicious Korean Meatballs and this time, I am showing you how to whip up a big batch of tender meatballs that you can bake off and then freeze because, I know you don't want to hear it, but SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER. Time to stock the freezer for September when life goes back to the daily grind and nobody has time to come home from work or school and make these puppies.
So, the difference here is that I use a combo of ground beef, ground pork and Italian sausage and that give me a really tender, moist meatball that has enough fat content that it doesn't get all tough when you reheat the frozen balls of deliciousness down the road.
I make this giant batch and throw some of them in a nice, light tomato sauce to eat that day and freeze the rest. The best way to freeze them is to lay them out on parchment lined baking sheets that fit in the freezer. Once they are hard, you can pop them off the tray and throw them in a freezer bag, allowing you to dip into the bag and just grab as many as you need.
Use your own recipe to make tomato sauce, use your favourite jarred sauce or you can follow my recipe for a simple marinara that you can find here.
Big Batch Meatballs
|Makes approx 48 2" meatballs|
approx 1.5 kg (3 1/3 lbs) of meat - I like to do about 600g ground beef, 500 grams ground pork, 350 or 400g sweet Italian sausage but the ratios are up to you
1.5 cups panko or toasted, dried bread crumbs
1.5 cups milk
1.5 cups freshly grated parmesan
about 1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil
about 1/2 cup chopped, fresh Italian parsley
1 tbls kosher salt
20 grinds of black pepper
1.5 cups grated onion on coarse grater or approx 3 small onions
3 or 4 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp
Combine the panko and the milk in a bowl and set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and stir in the salt, pepper, parmesan, basil and parsley.
Now, I like to mix these with the paddle attachment in the Kitchen Aid because it's a lot of meat but you can also do it by hand. If you do use the mixer, don't over mix, mix on the lowest speed possible and stop as soon as it's all combined. If doing it by hand, just mix thoroughly each time but without kneading the mixture - overworking makes them tough.
Okay, put the ground meats in the bowl of the mixer and remove the sausage from the casings (discard the casings of course). Throw in the egg/cheese mixture and give it about 1 minute to combine thoroughly on low speed. Add in the grated onion and the milk soaked panko and turn the machine on low again and mix until just incorporated - another minute, tops.
preheat the oven to 400F
Form the meatballs and put them on parchment lined baking sheets. I use an small ice cream scoop that holds just under 1/4 cup and that gives me a decent sized, 2" meatball. Using this scoop I get about 48 meatballs but you can make them whatever size you like. Because we are always going to heat these up before eating, I don't worry if they are a bit undercooked after baking them off so even if you make them a bit bigger, stick to 30 minutes in the oven. Pop the trays of meatballs into your oven.
After you roast the meatballs for 25-30 minutes, remove the pans and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle. Because of the fat content, there will be some congealed fat clinging to them and I use my hands to wipe all of that off and scrape that all to one end of the pan before they cool completely. You can avoid this step if you bake them sitting on a wire rack that you place on top of the baking sheet and do them in batches but I prefer to just get my hands dirty and do it this way.
Once they are totally cooled down, set aside any meatballs you want to use in the next day or two and then put the rest on parchment lined sheet pan that will fit in the freezer. Leave them in the freezer until they are frozen solid and transfer them to a freezer bag.
Reheat them, directly from the freezer, in simmering sauce for 15-20 minutes OR in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes.