Broken meatballs are my specialty – just ask my husband.
These broken meatballs are generally of the “Swedish meatball” variety and not the “Italian.”
With the Italian meatballs I am always very carefully following somebody’s recipe (cause you don’t mess with tradition) and they generally get baked on a sheet pan in the oven before arriving at their final destination in “Sunday Gravy.”
However with a Swedish style meatball – the savory, onion-y kind with a brown pan sauce sometimes served with a sweet/tart fruit jelly – is usually a pan-fry meatball. I love a good Swedish meatball (and yes I loved them long before Ikea came to town.) And I am always experimenting with new variations on them.
It is the pan frying of meatballs that results in the broken meatball. I am a bit impatient. I can never leave well enough alone. The whole idea behind searing something in a hot pan whether it be a steak, burger or meatball is to leave the item alone until it tells you that it is properly seared and ready to be turned, flipped or rolled. It magically un-sticks itself from the bottom of the pan and says “I’m ready.”
But I can never wait – I always try to roll, flip or turn too soon and whatever I am searing tears and breaks apart. Thus the broken meatballs. Delicious but broken!
Meatballs are definitely a regular cabinet stew for me – in fact someday I am going to compile a cookbook of all meatballs! The meatballs are never the same twice as I will often combine bits of leftover ground hamburg (or pork or turkey) with milk-moistened breadcrumbs, a beaten egg and whatever flavorings I feel like that night.
Below: I made these the other night with tons of dried thyme, parsley and a little prepared horseradish in the burger mix.
The pan sauce always starts with a quick butter-flour roux, sautéed onions and a pan de-glazing with broth or watered down A-1 sauce. I often add a tiny bit of milk (or could be sour cream or greek yogurt..) to give it the creamy sauce feel. I served these over boiled carrots and potatoes with a sprinkle of dill on the veggies.
These kind of meatballs are quick, delicious and make a great way to use up stuff in your cabinets and fridge.
p.s. funny thing…I never rush the flipping of anything on the grill. I seem to have more patience when outside at the grill.