Ok, It's December in Austin, Texas. Notwithstanding what the weather may or may not do regarding the coldness, I am going to winter weather cook.
Today, I'm making meatballs, these are my simple, everyday, cook balls of meat until they are yummy, meatballs. I cook them in a pressure cooker. I used to cook them in a dutch oven. I think they are more tender in the pressure cooker but they are absolutely delicious either way.
These are weird meatballs, but it's how I do them and I've never had any complaints.
In a food processor (!) combine:
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
Process until it's a paste, leave it to sit a few minutes so the bread absorbs everything. The mixture is like pablum. Worry not, it'll work out!
In a large bowl put
1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp oregano
the ground bread, onion mixture
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Mix well with your hands and add up to 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs to help it come together in a moist but cohesive ball. Form them into little balls, I use the 1 inch portion scoop but you can use any measure you want depending on how big you want them. I portion half on a sheet of tinfoil and pop them straight into the freezer and when they're frozen, throw them into bags so I can grab as many or few as I may need for another meal. Just fry them up, from frozen, and throw them in any sauce or soup or just cook them through and make a killer sandwich.
But I'm sorry, I digress, fry your little balls until they are beautiful, not to cook them just to brown them quickly.
Pour 1 can of whole tomatoes, chopped up and 1 can of stock or water in the pressure cooker. A sprinkle of sugar and 1/2 tsp of vinegar really brightens up the flavor. You can omit these and just throw in a jar of tomato sauce, Hunts works best here for the retro flavor. Either way, throw in a bay leaf.
As you fry the balls, drain them and pop them into the cold sauce in the pressure cooker. Pour off all the fat from the pan and deglaze with a splash of red wine and a half a can of water. Add the liquid to the pot.
Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, allow to release naturally. Eat. Save. Freeze. Refrigerate. Serve with pasta. Serve with potatoes. Make a sandwich on crunchy homemade bread. Do whatever meatbally thing you'd like. They are tender, meaty and delicious.
ALTERNATIVELY, if you don't 'do' pressure cookers; use a covered dutch oven and bake for 45 minutes at 375.
go make some meatballs in the pressure cooker, you'll be delighted.