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How to indulge in the easiness, versatility, and probably dubious origins of meatballs

The humble meat ball: both a universal cultural delight and staunch representative of the “suspicious ground meat concoctions” food group. Yum. But, when made with love (and with identifiable animal parts) meatballs can be a versatile, economical, and student-friendly food. And so here, to tantalize your taste buds and to help you put dinner on the table at least one more night this year, is a recipe for simple, perfect meatballs and a few ways to alter them into something equally satisfying.

Makes:

A lot.

Ingredients:

1 egg

2 slices leftover bread (remove crusts)

1 small onion, diced finely or grated

1 kg ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veal, you name it)

Salt

Method:

Beat egg in a small bowl until frothy. Tear bread into egg and let it soak.

Mix onion and meat in a large bowl, adding about 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. Do not compact the mixture when mixing.

Beat the egg and bread mixture and add to the meat. Mix again, lightly, until completely mixed. Shape into desired meatball size.

Fry on medium heat in a small amount of oil until cooked through, roast at 400° for about 15 minutes (will depend on their size) or cook in a sauce or soup for at least 10 minutes.

All types of meatballs can be frozen on plates and then stored in big plastic bags. Can be cooked from frozen, just increase time accordingly (don’t be afraid to cut one open to check if it is done).

Variations:

Italian: Use any meat, or a mixture. Add 3 minced cloves of garlic (or use a cheese grater), 1 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano and thyme and chili flakes (if desired) with the onion. Cook using any method above (very convenient for adding to store-bought tomato sauce).

Turkish: Use beef. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 2 teaspoons of cumin (ground or seed), 1 teaspoon of ground coriander and fresh or dried chili with the onion. I suggest you fry or roast these ones (great in pita), or add to a vegetable stew.

Chinese: Use any meat. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced, half a thumb-sized piece of minced ginger and a small handful chopped coriander (if desired). One quarter of the meat could be replaced with ground tofu. Cook in a noodle soup, fry or roast to eat with rice, or add to a stew.

This might be entirely arbitrary, but I tend not to mind paying extra for ground meat that is not from “fresh and frozen parts” (or free range, if within budget).  In my own (illogical) way, this says to me that the meat may be from a single animal. Undoubtedly, it won’t be.


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