When I was a kid, that was one of my favorite books. I loved the idea that it could rain food. Of course, the book points out that it has a downside. But I preferred to think about the good points- no hunger, favorite foods all around. Naturally, it is impossible for me to think about, see or eat meatballs without thinking of the book.
I found this recipe for meatballs in Grandma’s recipe box. You know the one. She has a whole section of Chinese food which I think were given to her by a couple who stayed with her for a bit. It’s a great story, one I promise to tell sometime soon. Really. Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for some tasty meatballs which did not come down from the sky. They’re a bit Asian and nothing like the ones you put in a sub roll. Serve with some rice and you’d be in for a tasty meal.
Grandma’s Chinese Meatballs
*I made some alterations but will print the recipe as Grandma wrote it and add my alterations as we go.
2 lbs hamburg
1/2 package Peppridge Farm Stuffing (soak in water and squeeze out)
1 onion, ground
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 clove garlic mashed
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup sugar or molasses
1/2 cup heinz chili sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
I had some ground beef patties that I needed to use up and they were from Whole Foods and therefore contained nothing but beef.
I was also lazy (well documented all over this blog) so I threw in all the ingredients into the food processor. I also added a little bit of red pepper I needed to- you guessed it- use up.
I gave it a good whirl and added the beef.
I threw it into a bowl and then added panko crumbs and a splash or two of milk. (I didn’t have any stuffing mix).
I mixed it all with my hands, still the best kitchen tool I own.
Then I took the time to make them into little meatballs. Such a time-consuming task. But worth it in the end…
Once that was done, I started working on the sauce.
Mix the soy, water, beef bouillon (I used better than bouillon), garlic, ginger, sugar, chili sauce and vinegar. I had no chili sauce so instead I used 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup of raw cane sugar and 1/4 of a cup of rice vinegar instead. (my thinking was that chili sauce is basically jazzy ketchup and that rice vinegar would offer some Asian flavors) Pour the sauce into a pan and bring it to a boil.
Heat a saute pan large enough to hold your meatballs (my pan was crowded). Cook them over medium high heat- brown them on all sides.
When your sauce has boiled, mix about a tablespoon of cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold water.
Add this mixture to the sauce and stir well. It will thicken the sauce and give it the silky texture that we’ve come to know and love in American Chinese food across the nation. Let the sauce cook as it thickens, then pour it over your meatballs. Let the whole mixture cook over medium heat until the meatballs are cooked through and coated in the sauce.
Serve it with rice and some sort of green. We like broccoli. Mmmmm.