Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Meatballs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I talk a lot about comfort food here on Salted Spoon. I firmly believe in the power of mashed potatoes, peas and gravy. I know that if I ever have a ridiculously horrible day, a bowl of comfort food and a good cry will do more for me than pretty much anything else. I think it's interesting that many of us have completely different comfort foods. 

Back in February at a Superbowl party I ate meatballs made by my boss, Jenn. They were insanely incredible and I'm still thinking about them three months later. The sauce was delicious. It had a rich almost sweet flavor, and the meatballs themselves were perfect nuggets of joy. They could very potentially be in my comfort food rotation, except I have no idea how she made them. It's a family recipe, so unless I abandon my Stunt Guy and do some very elaborate stalking and scheming to marry some random cousin, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm never going to know what made those meatballs so great. This is probably a good thing, because if I did know how to make them I would probably eat them so often that I'd either a) get sick of them or b) have to start wearing maternity jeans. 

Since I'm still pantry busting, I was thinking this week about what I wanted to cook out of my pantry for dinner yesterday and I decide it was time to share my meatball recipe. I was convinced I had ground beef in the freezer, but evidently my memory is off because I couldn't for the life of me find it. It was the only ingredient I was missing though, so I did pick some up at the store, continuing my "buy no more than 1 in 5 ingredients" rule. 

I started making my own barbecue sauce a few months ago and I've been meaning to share it. Since it's  the perfect sauce for meatballs, I think now is a good time. The meatballs go wonderfully with a standard marinara sauce. The barbecue sauce goes great on chicken or ribs. Or, just be like me and put them together with a side of rice and broccoli, or maybe some mashed potatoes and whole corn.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite comfort food is. I'll give it a try.

Meatballs with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

These meatballs aren't dense at all. They come out wonderfully light. Once you've done all the cooking here, you let the meatballs simmer for an hour and a half in a crockpot. This creates the moist yumminess and it's worth the time. I used Parmesan Cheddar Bread for the breadcrumbs and it was delicious!

For the Meatballs

1lb Ground Beef (or use half beef, half turkey as suggested by my friend Adam)
2 Cups of Fresh Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Grated Parmesan
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
1 Teaspoon Dried Sage
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

For the Barbecue Sauce

1 Small Onion, diced
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Red Wine
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Cups Ketchup
4 Tablespoons Molasses
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Start with the sauce. In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and add in the onions. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are starting to brown. Mince the garlic and add in with the onions. Cook for another two minutes, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste. If it's too acidic for you, add a tablespoon of sugar. Let this simmer away while you make the meatballs, or if you are just making the sauce, about 20 minutes.

For the meatballs, mix the herbs in with the parmesan and breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs into the milk. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the breadcrumbs, add the ground beef and salt and pepper. 

Mix until combined, but try not to overmix.

With a meatballer or a spoon, roll into small balls. You should get about 35.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. It should take about two or three minutes a side. 

Put the meatballs in a crockpot and pour over the sauce, then let simmer for an hour and a half. You could also do this on the stove in a pan over low heat, just be sure to keep a lid on it and stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks. 

Makes 35 meatballs and three cups of sauce. 

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