Friday, July 8, 2011

James Beard's Homemade Meat Balls

James Beard, a name well known by the foodie crowd, wrote and published his Complete Cookbook For Entertaining in 1954. There are 139 pages with 489 tested recipes, and well planned menus featuring everything from the simple to the more complex.

I had to laugh when I read this menu item on page 11, under luncheons for the bridge club;
Corn Bread
Buy your favorite corn bread mix and follow the directions.

It's funny to me, how the foodie snobs today would try to convince us that we should purchase some exotic blue corn meal or something of that sort. James Beard seemed quite content with taking the hassle out of it all and using a few shortcuts. Hmm Sandra Lee didn't invent this concept after all.

We really enjoyed the Homemade Meatball recipe on page 70.

Homemade Meat Balls (as written)

Combine 2 pounds ground pork with the same amount ground beef *, 1 cup bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp. oregano, a pinch of tarragon, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 3 eggs. Blend well and form into tiny balls. Sprinkle the balls with flour and brown quickly in butter. Add 1 1/2 cups red wine or broth, cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Serve in a chafing dish or a hot casserole.

* I used only ground beef because that's what we had. Don't crowd the pan. Start with a small amount of butter and add more as needed. The browned butter bits are part of what makes this recipe work. Use care to not allow the browned butter to burn and watch carefully, rolling the meatballs around by moving the pan to keep them browning.

We served this recipe with pre-packaged three cheese tortellini and homemade pesto sauce.

Flavor explosion, but a very satisfying combination.

Make these meatballs because James Beard made them, or just because they're dang good.

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