Jan 24 2014
Many of you already know how much I love Laura Calder. I consider her today’s Julia Child, bringing the best of French food to those who want to cook like chefs in their own home – all the while using accessible ingredients and easy cooking methods. Until now my favourite recipe of hers was hands down, her milk pork recipe. But when my mother-in-law gave me Laura’s cookbook, Dinner Chez Moi, I found these three-hour meatballs and knew that I had stumbled upon something great. Not only do I love Laura, but I also love finding different ways of preparing meatballs. This way is very simple, but I do suggest making your own spaghetti sauce if you like one that’s robust and full of flavour. Even Laura admits that the one in this recipe is a bit plain.
Another interesting fact about this recipe. In its introduction, Laura talks about how she absolutely despises the thought of spaghetti and meatballs. She actually begins talking about having forever thought of meatballs as being “crass: dense, rubber, nubbly boulders clumsily strewn across spaghetti fields,” before saying that she “instinctively reject the idea of meatballs on spaghetti,” rather choosing “wider, flat noodles myself, such as pappardelle, or generic egg noodles.” If you want to know anything else about the recipe, such as the delicious and comedic history behind it, you’ll have to get your hands on a copy of the book. Until then, make these meatballs – with or without the sauce that comes in the book – and follow your palette to meatball bliss.
For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil $0.12
1/4 pound lean ground beef $1.42
3 cans crushed tomatoes $2.97
3 cans tomato paste $1.77
1 tablespoon honey $0.10
2 bay leaves $0.32
For the meatballs:
1 1/2 pound ground beef $8.53
1 pound ground pork $2.84
1 loaf of fresh French bread, crust removed $1.19
3 eggs $0.60
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese $0.36
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence $1.18
Total cost $21.44
Cost per serving $3.57
1.) Heat the oil for the sauce in a large pot and fry the lean ground beef until it’s cooked through, about five minutes. Pour the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste over the beef. Stir in the honey, bay leaves, and 2 1/2 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
2.) Meanwhile, combine the ground beef and pork for the meatballs in a large bowl. Place the French bread in a colander and pour the hot water over it. Squeeze the water out of the bread, and then break it into crumbs over top of the meat. Add the eggs, cheese, and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
3.) Roll the pieces of the meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place them on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to allow them to firm slightly.
4.) Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook gently, partly covered, until the meatballs are soft and light, about three hours.
5.) Serve and enjoy!