I’m a firm believer that everyone needs an arsenal of basic recipes.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted here. I’ll be honest: sometimes, you have one of those weeks and it just becomes exhausting to cook – let alone cook something interesting and blog-worthy. But, as per my initial statement, everyone should have a handful of basic recipes up their sleeve, ready when they’re looking for a dinner that’s delicious, zero fuss, and simplistically elegant in a pinch. Okay, maybe meatballs aren’t necessarily “elegant”, but they are one of my favourite dinners, so I digress. This is the kind of recipe you’ll be able to make over again and know exactly what you’re getting into.
And tell me: who doesn’t love a good meatball (barring vegetarians, of course)?
Meatballs are the perfect “basic” recipe, too, because they’re like a blank slate to a certain extent. You can always customize their flavour profile and make it your own. You need plenty of seasoning to get the perfect, balanced meatball, but you’re at liberty to experiment or substitute ingredients! Don’t have dried basil? Try fresh chopped parsley. Want to spice them up with a pinch of cayenne? Be my guest. This recipe is intended to serve as a stepping stone into creating your own, unique recipe, while still standing on their own as flavourful, tender, and easy meatballs.
The key to getting these meatballs tender and juicy is the panade: soaking actual slices of bread in milk and eggs, in lieu of using breadcrumbs. It really helps keep the ground beef moist while the meatballs are cooking. Feel free to use regular sandwich bread or stale crusty bread, if you have it on hand. Just make sure to soak the panade longer if the bread is staler.
PS – Baking these meatballs instead of frying them means no messy splatter of oil, and broiling them gets them just as good and crispy!
I guarantee you’ll love these!
Hint: Make smaller meatballs to serve atop spaghetti with marinara, or make them larger to enjoy on their own with a side of salad, rice, and your choice of sauce!
- 3 slices sandwich bread
- ⅓ c. milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- ¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs, and sliced bread. Allow the bread to soak for a few minutes until you can break it down into small pieces with your hands. (This is called making a panade).
- Add onion, ground beef, Parmesan, herbs, salt, and pepper. Combine using your hands. Don't be afraid to get in there - you want to make sure the panade, onions, cheese, and beef are all well mixed together.
- Form meatballs and line on the baking sheet. I usually aim to make them about 2 in. in diameter.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until mostly cooked, then switch on the broiler and broil until the tops are browned and crispy, about 3-5 minutes.