Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cocktail Meat Balls (Gluten Free)

It's party gear up time! We are having an open house next Sunday. Hence, much cooking in advance. I came home this afternoon from riding to find the old metal meat grinder, which I thought had long since bit the dust, firmly screwed to the counter, and a bowl of ground pork sitting underneath it. Bob had started making the meatballs in vast quantities. He did the shopping and discovered that ground pork was almost twice the price of chops, so he bought chops and was grinding the meat.
These are easy to do ahead of time, since you can get to the browning stage and stick them in the freezer, letting the steaming in beef broth wait to another day. We mixed and rolled and browned for the rest of the afternoon. You will note that the recipe calls for two-thirds of a cup of cracker crumbs. If you want gluten free, you can either use the marvelously untasty Glutino crackers, or you can buy gluten free stuffing mix at Whole Foods and put that in the blender, or, you can blenderize gluten free bread. I used a fourth option, and mixed in ground almonds, available at Trader Joes and by mail from King Arthur Flour. It seemed to work fine.
This is a basic meatball recipe. Nothing in it indicates its Midwestern roots. It's easy, and if I was writing this recipe, I would say, put in a large onion.

Cocktail Meat Balls

1 pound ground lean pork
1 pound ground lean beef, round
2 eggs lightly beaten
2/3 cup cracker crumbs (see introduction for gluten free options)
1 small onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon flour (use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour if you want gluten free.)

1. Combine the pork, beef, eggs, cracker crumbs, onion, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, salt and sugar in a bowl. Mix well.
2. Form into one-half-inch balls. Melt the butter in a skillet and fry the balls in it, a few at a time, until browned on all sides.
3. Drain off excess fat. Return balls to skillet and add one-quarter cup of the broth. Cover skillet and steam the balls ten minutes.
4. Blend the four with the remaining broth. Add to skillet and bring to a boil, stirring. Makes four dozen.

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