How to Braise Perfect Italian Pork Meatballs in Red Sauce

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(soft beep) – Time to make some balls.

(laughter) (bright upbeat rock music) – Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena.

I needed a man who had ameat grinder on his arm.

– This is actually an image of my grandmother's meat grinder.

It's my first memory of cooking when I was like nine years old.

– So this is what got it all started.

– Yup.

– So it's pretty appropriateto like make some meatballs.

– Make some meatballs oh definitely.

– And so you go all pork though.

– Yes because we butcher whole pigs and the idea of what we're doing is to utilize the entireanimal, belly and loin.

– What is this that you have here? – So this is guanchale this is bacon made from the pig's jowl.

When you make meatballs you need you know obviously a good fat to meat ratio.

This does that it alsoadds a little smokiness because we smoke it forprobably about two hours.

It's funny because peoplealways ask me you know what is that flavor inyour meatballs you know.

– What's the flavor of your balls? – Smoky pig balls.

(laughter) So when you're cleaning the pork meat this is called silver skin.

This won't go through the grinder so this has to be trimmed off.

I really recommend not goingto the store and buying the styrofoam tray wrappedin plastic with the– – You can say what you want to say.

– The tampon that absorbs all the juice so I would recommend going to a really good butcher shop and go and buy some really good cutsand grind it yourself.

And you could do thisat home with a simple meat grinder attachmentfor your Kitchen Aide or a hand crank meat grinder.

– You say that I couldgrind this at home is there a certain like die orwhatever you can put on there? – Yeah you want to use the smaller die so you get a finer grind on the meat you can see to be nice and tender.

So this where a lot ofpeople screw up meatballs is they overmix you alwayssee like people they make their meatballs they mix it and then they roll the ballsreally tight, they pack them tight and you have a dense meatball.

– Yeah.

– So what we're going to do is we want to work the meat as little as possible.

– [Jeremy] Okay.

– So I'm going to make my mix with all the other ingredients first.

– [Jeremy] Get that all donebefore we add that in there.

– Alright so I've got ricottacheese, roasted garlic puree.

– [Jeremy] It like looks really dark.

– Yeah it is we roastthe garlic in the oven until it's this color basically, it brings out the sweetness of the garlic and calabria and chili flake,spicy meatball you know.

Fresh oregano and parsley, parmigiano.

– [Jeremy] Parmigiano in.

– A little bit of breadcrumbs, wallah.

– Teamwork, teamwork in the kitchen.

– This is our flavor paste.

– Yep.

– Then we have the meatkind of spread it out a little bit and then gently fold it in.

– Treat it like a lady.

– Treat it like a ladyunless they like it rough.

And then a little bit ofwater just to kind of smooth it out and then we're goingto stop it right there.

– [Jeremy] No more than that.

– Right no more than that.

And what we're going to do, we gotta lube up the pan for your balls.

– I wanna roll one.

– Lube yourself up and just do like a quick roll and that's it.

You want them all pretty even because you want them to cook evenly.

– Exactly.

Also you gotta keep inmind that there's fat in here and when you cookit the fat's gonna come out, they're going to shrivel up a bit.

– That's usually whenyou're in the cold though.

– Yeah I know in this case for meatballs it's when it's hot so that's great.

Okay then these aregoing to go in a really hot oven so we keep allof the juices inside.

(upbeat rock music) – Pulled out the hot oven what did you cook these on usually? – [Bruce] 400 degrees.

– [Jeremy] 400 degrees for about how long? – [Bruce] Like 20 minutes.

– [Jeremy] And then you want to cool them down in the sauce.

– Yeah that's another crucialmoment with meatballs for me.

If you just leave them like this cool them down like this they kind of dry and you want to transfer it out because there's a lot of grease in here and I don't want that in my sauce.

And then I'm going to justgive them a little sauce bath.

– So this is like perfect make ahead food.

– Oh yeah big time you can make these way in advance and then soafter it's cool then we'll cover it with aluminum foil and then they're ready to just go back in the oven whenever you're ready tohave your meatball party.

So now we've got like a twice cooked tomato braised meatball.

To plate what I recommend is two balls because three is a little weird.

– One and you're Lance Armstrong.

– Yeah exactly.

And then I like to use caper berries just kind of cuts right through it.

This is lardo, it'sbasically cured pork fat.

– What part of the pig is it from? – This is the back fat.

And then a little parmigiano regiano.

If we were going to use bleu cheese we could make blue balls.

– [Jeremy] We've reached new lows.

– Way low, little bit of good olive oil.

And then you want some really great crusty kind of charredbread to go with it.

– Well let's give this uh- – Let's give it a whirl, awesome.

And you'll see how tender they are.

– Yeah.

– Tender balls are totally the way to go.

(upbeat rock music) – The grimyness of thecaper berry is nice.

And you definitely get that smokiness.

– Right, this is like theright amount of smoke.

– Because you don't want to overwhelm the rest of your flavorsin there essentially.

– Right you know they say that balls are the way to a woman'sheart, good balls.

No, yeah I lost ya.

– Just one ball joke too many.

(laughter).

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