Meatballs. Some refinements, other questions left opened.

I love meatballs.

In fact, when the challenge was announced for the event of the century, The Food Experiments/Columbus, I not only stayed in my comfort zone, I took my passion for the meatball and used it as a substrate for the theme of the event (smoke) to share with all who would attend.

Days before the event, Spilled Milk podcast had an episode on meatballs!  Favorite foodies of mine @Mamster and @MollyOrangette filled my head with information and reinforced much of what I knew about the meatball.  It's not just about the meat; it's about tenderness and fillers.  The term fillers has bad connotations, but in the context of a meatball, the fillers give the meat tenderness and make it a nugget of beauty; something that when pushed with a fork on one's plate, should almost fall apart.  I listened to the podcast, read a zillion recipes, listened to the sage advice of Saucisson MAC and used past experience to assemble my final recipe.  
This is a ground turkey meatball that my family loves.  However, it is only one type, I love all meatballs: pork, chuck, mixtures thereof, etc.  Regarding cooking, I've always been partial to dropping them in gently perking tomato sauce, I think it's called braising (but I don't know the difference between braising and poaching).

Turkey meatballs
Turkey, ground, 1 lb (I used an Ohio Turkey farm, Bowman Landes free range tureky, thighs)
bulgur, fine particle size, 1/2 cup
bread crumbs, 1/2 cup
salt, 5 g
eggs, 2 
pepper, 1 t
onion, finely grated, 2 T
parsley, lots, curly and flat, finely minced, at least 2-3T
garlic powder
milk, 20 g

Mix with hands and make into little golf ball-sized lumps, makes about 54.
I made about 280 for the food competition.  I cooked these in a simple tomato sauce of Pomi tomatoes (900 g), water (900 g), olive oil (30 g), salt (about 5 g) and a whole onion removed after some gentle simmering.  The thin tomato sauce gets thickened when bulgur gets in it from the meatball. 

Regarding the bread: For the competition, I made 20 g mini brioche loaves that were hollowed out for the "bread bowl" for our meatball slider.  They kind of sucked, too tough, not pillowy-soft, but I had no time to improve the bread for this application, I had to lock in and go given the clock.  I love my brioche recipe, but when scaled back to a 20 gram loaf, the dimensions failed to deliver the same texture as observed for the 600 gram loaf - a problem to be explored and reported on in a future post.


Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) said...

We haven't made meatballs in far too long. I like doing a big batch at once and freezing small packages for a quick weeknight meal.

Did you use pre-cooked bulgur or raw?

Dave said...

I never knew there was pre-cooked, just raw I think.