Why I Love This Recipe
Alton Brown did a show about meatballs. (In fact I think it was called "Great Balls of Meat") And while I was disappointed to find out that his Swedish meatball recipe is pretty much how I was taught to do it. >sigh< Alas, no handy gadget recomendations or secret formulas for success, just banter with 'W' under a shiney disco ball. Regardless of the Swedish Meatball let down, his idea of baking regular meatballs in a mini muffin tin DID intreagued me. I tried his recipe, but I am really not a fan of beef. If you use beef I suggest Ground Round or Sirloin, as they have better flavor, but make sure the fat content is between 10 - 15%.
I tend to lean a little harder on the herbs and spices as well. Here is my rendition of his original recipe (Available on FoodNetwork Website)
Ingredients You'll Need
This makes about 45 - 48 meatballs depending on the accuracy of your scale
1 lb Ground Goat (Cheven)
1 lb Ground Lamb
1 lb Ground Pork
1 tsp Red Pepper Flake
1 TB Dried Parsley
1 TB Dried Basil
2 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder (Sauted onion increases the moisture content)
2 tsp Marjoram
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds (Crushed really well)
2 tsp Kosher Salt
10 grinds of Black Pepper
2 Large Eggs
10 oz Chopped Spinach (Excess Water Squeezed out)
1 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano; Parmagiano-Reggiano Stravecchio is good too
1/2 Cup Plain Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs; ground a little finer.
In a large Bowl; Toss all 3 meats, herbs, spices, spinach, eggs, cheese and the 1/2 cup of plain old bread crumbs.
Mix with fingertips, do not squash everything together with your hands like your strangeling the life from your mixture. Be gentle. Don't heat up the fats in the meat.
Cover With plastic Wrap and refrigerate for 24 hour to allow the flavors to meld together and chill the mixture all the way through.
Get out your kitchen scale and a mini muffin tin or two, depending on the size. I am in need of an upgrade as mine only make 1 dozen each, so I use 2 tins and make 2 batches.
Turn oven to 400 degrees
Scope out the mixture into 1 1/2 ounce mounds.
Chill again for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the Ice Box and roll each mound into a ball.
Roll each ball in slightly ground Panko breadcrumbs.
Place each ball in the cup of a mini muffin tin, they should be large enough to remain suspended above the bottom of the cup. This allows the excess fat to drain down below.
Place in oven for 15-20 minutes(Electic) 25-30 minutes (Gas) or until, as Alton is so fond of saying, they are G B & D (Golden Brown & Delicious)
Serve as an appetizer, or grab a Hoagie/Grinder/Sub/Hero/Poor Boy roll (SourDough if you can find it), some homemade tomato sauce (See Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce Base recipe), and some dry Mozzarella or Provolone and have a GREAT Meatball Sandwich!