One of America’s Favorites – Meatballs

April 29, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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A meatball is made from an amount of ground meat rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices, possibly eggs and herbs. Meatballs are usually prepared and rolled by hand, and are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce.
There are many types of meatball recipes using different types of meats and spices, including vegetarian and fish alternatives, and various methods of preparation.
The ancient Roman cookbook Apicius included many meatball-type recipes. From the Balkans to India, there is a large variety of meatballs in the kofta family.

 

 

Meatballs across various cultures

A variety of Chinese meatballs and fishballs

A variety of Chinese meatballs and fishballs

 

*Chinese meatballs (specifically, a dish common in Shanghai cuisine) are most often made of pork and are usually steamed or boiled, either as-is, or with the addition of soy sauce. Large meatballs, called lion’s heads, can range in size from about 5 cm to 10 cm in diameter. Smaller varieties, called pork balls, are used in soups. A Cantonese variant, the steamed meatball, is made of beef and served as a dim sum dish. A similar dish is called the beef ball, and the fish ball is yet another variety made from pulverized fish. In northern China, irregular balls made from minced meat and flour are often deep-fried and eaten for special occasions.

 

*In Italy, meatballs are generally eaten as a main course or in a soup. The main ingredients of an Italian meatball are: beef and or pork and sometimes poultry, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, Romano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs and parsley, mixed and rolled by hand to a golf ball size. In the Abruzzo region of Italy, especially in the Province of Teramo, the meatballs are typically the size of marbles, and are called polpettine.

 

*The Japanese hamburger steak, hanbāgu, is typically made of ground beef, milk-soaked panko (bread crumbs) and minced, sauteed onions. They are typically eaten with a sauce made from ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Chinese style meatballs are also popular.

 

*In Sweden, köttbullar (meatballs) are made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef, pork and sometimes veal, sometimes including

Meatballs served Swedish style with mashed potatoes, brown sauce, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumber

Meatballs served Swedish style with mashed potatoes, brown sauce, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumber

breadcrumbs soaked in milk, finely chopped (fried) onions, some broth and often including cream. They are seasoned with white pepper or allspice and salt. Swedish meatballs are traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and sometimes fresh pickled cucumber. Traditionally, they are small, measuring one inch in diameter. In the United States, there are a number of variations, based on the assimilation of Swedes in the Midwest.

 

*In Turkey, meatballs are called Köfte and are extremely popular, there are at least 50 different versions. Meatballs in Turkey are usually made with ground lamb or a mix of ground beef and lamb. Most popular ones are İnegöl Köfte, İzmir Köfte, Şiş Köfte, Kadınbudu Köfte and Akçaabat Köftesi.

 

*In the United Kingdom, faggots are a type of spicy pork meatball. A faggot is traditionally made from pig heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring, and sometimes breadcrumbs.

 

*In the United States, meatballs are commonly served with spaghetti as in spaghetti and meatballs, a dish in Italian American cuisine, assimilated from Italian immigrants coming from southern Italy in the early 19th century. Over time, the dishes in both cultures have drifted apart in similarity. In the southern United States, venison or beef is also often mixed with spices and baked into large meatballs that can be served as an entree. Another variation, called “porcupine meatballs” are basic meatballs often with rice in them.

 

*In Vietnam, meatballs (thịt viên hay mọc, bò viên, cá viên) can be used as an ingredient in phở, hủ tiếu. It is also common to cook meatballs in tomato sauce, and finely chopped spring onion and peppers are added before serving. In bún chả (a specialty Vietnamese rice noodle), meatballs are grilled to be chả and served with bún (rice noodles) and dipping sauce (based on fish sauce seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili). Xíu Mại is a pork meatball in a tomato sauce often served with a baguette.

 

 

Kofta is a Middle Eastern and South Asian meatball or dumpling. The word kofta is derived from Persian kūfta: In Persian, کوفتن (kuftan) means “to beat” or “to grind” or meatball. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls or fingers of minced or ground meat – usually beef or lamb – mixed with spices and/or onions. The vegetarian variety like lauki kofta, shahi aloo kofta, malaai kofta are popular in India.
The meat is often mixed with other ingredients such as rice, bulgur, vegetables, or eggs to form a smooth paste. Koftas are sometimes made with fish or vegetables rather than meat, especially in India. They can be grilled, fried, steamed, poached, baked or marinated, and may be served with a rich spicy sauce. Variations occur in North Africa, the Mediterranean, Central Europe, Asia and India. According to a 2005 study done by a private food company, there were 291 different kinds of kofta in Turkey, where it is very popular. In Arab countries, kufta is usually shaped into cigar-shaped cylinders.
Early recipes (included in some of the earliest known Arabic cookbooks) generally concern seasoned lamb rolled into orange-sized meatballs, and glazed with egg yolk and sometimes saffron. This method was taken to the west and is referred to as gilding, or endoring. Many regional variations exist, notable among them the unusually large Iranian Kufteh Tabrizi, having an average diameter of 20 cm (8 in).
Koftas in South Asian cuisine are normally cooked in a spicy curry and sometimes with whole pre-boiled eggs. Sometimes the eggs are encased in a layer of the spicy kofta meat so that the final product resembles an Indian Scotch egg. These kofta dishes are very popular with South Asian families and are widely available from many Indian restaurants. In West Bengal, India and Bangladesh, koftas are made with prawns, fish, green bananas, cabbage, as well as minced goat meat.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

The record for World’s Largest Meatball was set several times in 2009. It was first set in Mexico in August weighing 49.4 kg (109 pounds) and then again a month later in Los Angeles when late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel helped set the record weight at 90 kg (198.6 pounds). In October 2009, an Italian eatery in Concord, New Hampshire set the new record at 101 kg (222.5 pounds).

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