Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Oven Baked Meatballs

They don't look special, but they sure taste special
Recently, I was given some farm-raised grass-fed ground beef. It came with a warning: "This is much leaner than commercial ground beef, so cook accordingly." The beef looked like buffalo meat--dark red with almost no white or light areas. I decided that hamburgers would not be a good choice, since they were not likely to be juicy. So I settled on meatballs, where I could add some moisture.

I made them much like I make meatloaf:

  • 1 lb. beef
  • 1/4 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato juice (from canned tomatoes)
  • 1 egg
  • half onion, chopped fine
  • 2–3 Tbsp chopped parsley

I beat the egg, added the tomato juice, and soaked the crumbs in this mixture. Then I mixed everything together and made a dozen meatballs; each was about 2 inches across. I put the meatballs on a rack on top of a baking sheet and baked at 400 for 20 minutes.

While they were cooking, I heated up some oven roasted tomato sauce, which tends to be quite thick, and added a medium-sized can of diced tomatoes. I added a few cloves of chopped garlic and let this simmer while the meatballs cooked. Then I added the cooked meatballs and let everything sit on a low burner for half an hour or so.

The results were wonderful. The meatballs had a slight crust from the oven roasting; their insides tasted like the beef I grew up with: rich and very flavorful. Over the next few days, they flavored the sauce, so I could have made everything a day or two ahead. But I couldn't wait. I served them on pasta, in sandwiches, and finally chopped up on pizza.

As a kid, I loved steak, but my taste for it declined over the years. I thought that was the result of changing tastebuds. Now I'm convinced it is the result of changing beef. I have two grass-fed beef steaks in my freezer. I can hardly wait.


  1. I do not have farm raised meat, but love meatballs and will ask my grand daughter or grand son to make for me. And when out of bed, will try myself. Thanks!