Have you ever had a craving for something from your childhood, or not so recent past, and gone on a quest to discover that same taste? It happens to me all the time and most recently involved some meatballs I ate as a child that came back from my past with a powerful craving. As a child I ate these mostly at church suppers, but the flavor is something that stuck with me. There are a couple of sites I trust on the net, of course I had 250 cookbooks at home that I could rummage through, the net is usually faster. I remembered reading a recipe on the Pioneer Woman's blog about barbecue meatballs and thought they looked similar. I also know about porcupine meatballs which involve rice, that was not my goal. I would up going back to Pioneer Woman and using recipe as the base from which I created my recipe. With fingers crossed I set out to make them, and happily discovered a great old friend.
I guess before I go any further I should warn you that these aren't the type of meatballs you would put over pasta, or in a pasta sauce. They aren't that kind of meatball. It would be better for you to think of these as teeny tiny meatloaves in a savory, tangy, sweet sauce. I think they should be served with scrumptious mashed potatoes and green beans, and some great french or garlic bread, but you could do whatever you feel like doing. We take a lot of food to friends who are in need, and I think I'm going to keep these babies up my sleeve and pull them out when called upon to take food to a friend in need.
The hardest thing about these is browning them in the skillet before you put them in the pan, for real. Unless, of course, if you have a problem touching raw meat, then it will be a little yucky and painful for a while. I use our stand mixer to whip the meat mixture into shape, then I go in with an ice cream scoop to make the round shapes. I have to do that or I would not have uniform meatballs, it's just me. I found that setting up a station in which I scooped the meat, rolled in flour then placed in the pan to brown, followed by placing them in the 9x13 worked great. It kept the mess to a minimum. These can be made the night before, placed in the fridge and baked the next day...if time is something that isn't always on your side.
2 pounds ground beef (or any combination of ground meat you like)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk
1/2 onion, finely chopped (pulverize it)
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt ( I used Jane's Krazy Mixed UP salt)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 large egg
1 cup flour (for dredging)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the hook attachment, add all ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, then on medium for 3-4 minutes until smooth and combined. Using a large spring loaded scoop, scoop meat and roll into round balls, roll in flour and place on a cookie sheet. Continue scooping and rolling until all the meat has been used.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil. Add meatballs and brown on all sides, no need to cook all the way through. Place browned meatballs in a 9x13 pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
2 cups ketchup
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
6 Tablespoons vinegar
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon pepper.
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until combined.
Pour sauce over meatballs, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350 over for 30-45 minutes.
No photographs, sorry.