In my attempts to make a good meatball, here are some thoughts that come to mind.
1. Does the meatball have good flavors? Can the flavor or the meatball stand-up with or without sauce?
2. Does the meatball hold shape well as it is cooking?
3. Is the meatball moist on the inside with a slightly crunchy skin on the outside (with a good sear)?
When looking around the Internet on various forums, there were a few ideas I found to help succeed on the items listed above plus more.
I like the flavor of onions, garlic and other herbs a lot. In this recipe, I grate the onions, garlic, and shallots (optional) to get these flavors but don’t want to bite into a piece of any of these when eating the meatball.
The panade which is made with milk and Italian breadcrumbs helps with the moistness and also makes the meatballs plump up a little bit when cooking.
I’ve always had problems with meatballs not holding their round shape very well during cooking. A few ways I’ve worked around this are by making the meatball smaller in size. I put the meat mixture into a 1/4 cup. I think this is the perfect size.
I also ensure that meatballs are not too wet. This is the reason I add some additional breadcrumbs before forming the meatballs. I don’t want them to fall apart or become misshapen due to being too wet.
For this last batch of meatballs that were made, I let them sear a little longer before handling them and also shook the pan around some to get an even cook on all sides. Previously, I would use tongues but this sometimes would cause the meatballs to become lopsided.
2 Pounds Ground Chicken
1 Cup Italian Panko (or crushed) Italian Bread Crumbs
Splash of Milk
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Oregano
2 Tablespoons Parmesan oregano or Pecorino Romano
6 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
Red Pepper Flakes
Some Olive Oil
1. Put Breadcrumbs in bowl and put in splash of milk. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
2. Put chicken in separate bowl and make a well in the middle.
3. Grate onion and garlic and add to bread crumb mixture.
5. Crack eggs and whisk them together. Add to bread crumb mixture.
6. Add cheese, tomato paste, salt/pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste)
7. Put bread crumb mixture in well of chicken and mix everything together until bread crumb mixture is evenly distributed in meat mixture.
8. If mixture still feels very wet, add more breadcrumbs. The mixture should hold together easily and not be sticky. Think consistency of hamburger meat.
9. Form into meatballs. I use a 1/4 measuring cup for each one.
10. Preheat pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Once pan is preheated, cook the meatballs on one side until they are seared (dark crust). Try to get a seat on all sides.
11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and use a little cooking spray. Cook the meatballs for approximately 20 minutes.