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Excellent Meatballs

Excellent Meatballs

I have been trying and trying for years to make a tender and tasty meatball but they always came out too firm. I want my meatballs to easily fall apart when you dig into it with a fork. So what was different this time you ask me ? Well, I think the most important part is that I got equal parts veal, pork and beef directly from the butcher instead of using one of those “meatball” ground meat packages from the grocery store that supposedly have equal parts of all three meats in it. Also, the meatballs get browned and then baked plus I like to let them simmer in the sauce for at least 1 hour. These meatballs are so tasty and Anne Burrell also mentions another really important point and that is to test taste (why didn’t I think of that) a mini meatball before cooking them all up. Adjust the salt if needed! Now finally I got myself a tender meatball that I’ll be confident in serving for my guests.

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of crushed red pepper

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal

2 large eggs

1 cup grated Parmigiano

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup water

Directions:Coat a large pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for 5-7 minutes. The onions should be translucent but have no color. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley, bread crumbs and onions. Season well with salt. Mix using your hands squishing the mixture. Add water and do one final squish. The mixture should be quite wet. Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The patty should taste really good.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Shape the meat into desired size. I prefer them slightly larger than a golf ball. Coat a large pan with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Place them on a cookies sheet and bake them in oven for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. If using right away, add meatballs to your favorite marinara sauce. If not, cool and freeze.

Source:  Anne Burrell

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Chinese Dumplings

Chinese Dumplings

The first time I had Chinese Dumplings was many years ago when my husband Joe and I were visiting my brother-in-law Michael in Manhattan, NY. Michael was the one who ordered dumplings and I tried one of his. Turns out these soft little pockets are packed full of flavor and the dipping sauces you can use are endless. The ingredient list is not as  complicated as one might think and making the filling is easy. However, it is a little time-consuming assembling the dumplings but it’s well worth the effort and it can be done ahead of time.

Making Chinese Dumplings

Making Chinese Dumplings

Ingredients:

8 oz cabbage, roughly chopped

1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2/3 lb ground pork

a pinch of pepper

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

2 tsp sesame oil

1 package wonton wrappers

for the slurry: 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1/2 cup water

Directions:

Place the cabbage in a food processor and process until finely minced. Remove the cabbage to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add ginger, green onions, pork, pepper, soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil. Pulse 4-5 times to mix ingredients. Set aside.

Place the cabbage on a clean towel or cheese cloth and wring out excess liquid. Place cabbage back into bowl and add the pork mixture. Gently stir to blend cabbage and pork.

Mix together the slurry. Place a wonton wrapper on a dry surface and paint edges with slurry mixture. Place a generous teaspoonful of pork mixture in center of wonton wrap and fold up all four edges to a point making sure all edges are sealed tightly. Place on a baking sheet and keep covered with moist paper towels while making the rest of the dumplings. Make sure dumplings do not touch each other on the baking sheet.

When all dumplings area assembled, cook immediately or cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours. To cook, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. When boiling, gently add 1/3 of dumplings and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with hot chili sauce or potsticker dipping sauce. If freezing dumplings, freeze raw dumplings after assembling them. Freeze as-is on a plate or on the baking sheet. Once frozen, place in a freezer bag.

Source: adapted from Steamy Kitchen, originally from Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen

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