Having recently bought half a pig from a local provider, I am learning that there’s a lot of sausage included in half a pig! I am not complaining, we are going through it like no one’s business, but I find myself shockingly low in good fail-safe recipes that require pork sausage.
Specifically, I needed something to do with the pounds and pounds of Italian sausage we received, something besides patties for breakfast. Which is when one of my kids piped up and suggested we find a decent meatball recipe online.
Turns out there’s not too much to most pork meatball recipes, I’m a bit embarrassed that it has taken me so long to start making them myself.
Food For Thought
After finding several different recipes online, it became pretty apparent that meatballs are very similar to meatloaf, just shaped differently. That is, almost anything can be thrown into this dish, and it’s still called meatballs as long as you shape them properly.
Given the types of websites I visit, and the recipes that I found, the biggest concerns were whether or not to use bread as a binder, and what kind of meat blend went into making the best meatballs. As I’ve stated before, we aren’t gluten intolerant, so we don’t avoid bread at all costs. But neither are we fans of modern wheat, so I try to avoid commercially processed bread as much as possible.
So for my own curiosity, I decided to make two batches of pork meatballs. One, without any kind of bread included, just using eggs as a binder. And for the second batch, I decided to use one leftover biscuit that I had made a few mornings earlier, with Einkorn flour of course, no modern dwarf wheat for me!
In the end, I found both versions of the meatballs very satisfying, with maybe a slight lean towards the ones that included the biscuit. But given that I spread one biscuit across 32 meatballs, I’m not sure how much I could realistically taste it. For those avoiding gluten, skipping a bread binder posed no problems at all for me, and I would happily sit down for dinner with a fresh batch of breadless meatballs.
The only other issue to consider before getting elbow deep in meatball mix was the protein mixture. I suppose that I could have simply worked with only pork Italian sausage that I had on hand, but I really wanted to mix something else in, something that we don’t normally eat or include in our diet.
Buffalo would work, I’m sure, as would beef, or even veal. But I settled on lamb. Not because I love lamb, or believe that everyone needs to have some lamb in their diet at least once a week, or anything like that.
As I walked through the grocery store, I saw some local, ground lamb, neatly packaged in a one pound presentation, and it seemed such an easy way of including a grass fed protein into a meal, that I picked it up. That’s all there was to it. Next week, it might be something else, it all depends upon what is on display at the grocery I suppose.
Like meatloaf, this recipe seems like a natural opportunity to throw in other items to the recipe that I have laying around. Maybe some finely diced carrots next time out. Or some minced garlic. Whatever I decide to add in, I’m sure that as well received as this pork meatball recipe was, that I will be making these again, very soon!
- 1 large shallot or small onion
- 2 eggs
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound ground lamb or veal
- 1½ pounds ground mild Italian pork sausage
- optional – leftover Einkorn wheat biscuit, or other similar bread
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Finely chop your shallot (or small onion) as well as your parsley
- Add all ingredients into a large bowl (skip the biscuit if you are going gluten free)
- Thoroughly mix all ingredients until uniform
- Using a small ice cream scoop, or your hands, or whatever else works for you, shape into small meatballs of whatever size makes you happy
- Place the meatballs on an oven proof tray that already has a piece of parchment paper on it, and place into the oven. If you’d like, you can also place a wire rack on the tray first, and then place the meatballs on top of wire rack if you don’t want the meatballs cooking in its own fat.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending upon the size of your meatballs, and how well done you would like them. If you are worried about such things, you can always test the temperature of the meatballs and wait to take them out until the centers are about 145 degrees.