Let’s talk meatballs today. Frankly, I think meatballs can be challenging to make since there is so much that can go wrong. Too dry, too crisp, too flavorless … these are all common problems, and you have to do your best to avoid them.
Then there is the cooking method controversy. Should they be baked? Fried? Both? I’ve always been in the just-bake-em club. And that works. They get crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. And then you toss them into sauce for a few minutes before serving them and it’s just perfect.
When I visited Minneapolis in November, I discovered how amazing a well-cooked chicken meatball can be. While I was there, I had the most amazing meatballs I’ve ever had. They were made from chicken and foie gras, and were buttery, soft and almost airy. Seriously, the only word to adequately describe them is ethereal.
At the time, I thought that restaurant had some secret – something that made their amazing meatballs out of reach for the common cook. Honestly, I know I will never duplicate the meatballs entirely since foie gras isn’t something I have extensive access to.
But the texture? That sublime light texture? I can do it. And although it’s not the same amazing flavor, these meatballs have a lot of flavor of their own. It’s not the same, but it’s still fabulous — the best chicken meatballs I’ve ever made. And the secret to getting there? 1) Cooking them on the stovetop — part frying, part braising (or is this boiling? I think it’s braising, but that term always trips me up). And 2) ketchup in the meatball. No, really. It doesn’t make the meatballs taste like ketchup, but does add this hint of flavor that you aren’t expecting. Yum.
Thank you, Cate, for introducing me to these fabulous chicken meatballs.
Adapted very slightly from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentis via Sweetnicks