PALEO & WHOLE30 MEATBALLS; 7 SECRETS TO PERFECTION

PALEO & WHOLE30 MEATBALLS; 7 SECRETS TO PERFECTION
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PALEO & WHOLE30 MEATBALLS; 7 SECRETS TO PERFECTION

PALEO & WHOLE30 PERFECT MEATBALLS

I love to look for ways to please my family and friends at dinner parties while staying within a reasonable budget and maintaining my PALEO & WHOLE30 lifestyle. For cocktail-style events, I always include meatballs.  They are super simple, and an excellent choice to get your protein fix on your PALEO & WHOLE30 regime. 

Ground meat is so economical, versatile, and flavourful. It can also be healthy if you invest in lean ground versions.

GROUND MEAT NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Ground meat is also included in a Paleo, Keto, Whole30, grain-free, and gluten-free lifestyle.  There are so many meatball recipes that meet our culinary and dietary needs and offer a great source of lean protein.  For example:   

  • 100 grams of ground beef and ground veal both offer 14 grams of protein
  • 100 grams of ground pork offers 24 grams of protein
  • 100 grams of ground lamb offers 17 grams of protein

It’s true; meatballs are one of the most common foods made from a variety of ground meats. Even so, they can be tasty and constructed in such a variety of ways that they will always please guests, whether served as an hors d’oeuvre or in pasta, soups, or sauces.

When we think of ground meat, Italian and Swedish meatballs spring to mind. But other cultures utilize the ball made from flesh, as well. In Afghanistan, meatballs are added to the tomato sauce and served over rice. Chinese meatballs are usually made from pork and are steamed or boiled. I’ve included a deep-fried version below! Asian meatballs can also be made of fish and seafood and are known as fish balls. Frikadeller is the name of the Danish pork fried meatball, usually slightly flattened. Indonesian meatballs are known as ‘bakso’, served in noodle soup with tofu and crispy wontons. As most Indonesians are Muslim, their meatballs are generally produced from beef and sometimes mixed with chicken.

There are secrets to producing and perfecting the meatball.    A few years ago I wrote a feature story for our local newspaper about meatballs.  I had the pleasure of interviewing one of Canada’s Chef de Cuisines, Chef David Franklin.  Chef David (Chef de Cuisine) shared these meatball secrets with me. 

Thanks Chef David!

SECRETS TO FABULOUS GRAIN-FREE MEATBALLS

SECRET 1: Incorporate more than one meat into your meatballs to achieve a more unique taste and more depth of flavour.

SECRET 2: The first tip is to be extra careful when working with any ground meat, fish, or seafood. Watch for cross-contamination. Work with one food item at a time – such as the ground meat – then scrub your cutting board with boiling water, strong detergent, and a good brush. I also like to spray my board with a mixture of peroxide and water. Rinse the board again. Then, wash your hands before moving onto another food item.  Older cutting boards, especially plastic ones, often have deep and shallow scratches and grooves from past use. These grooves act as a breeding ground for bacteria. If your guests get sick from your meatballs, they are hardly perfect. So, cleanliness and diligence are essential techniques to utilize.

SECRET 3: Another secret to making meatballs that hold together and don’t crumble is to make sure to remove all of the air from the raw flesh. In other words, abuse your meat. 

SECRET 4: To ensure that your meatballs cook evenly, use a small ice-cream scoop or melon baller to make them all the same size.  Wet your hands with cold water when shaping the meatballs, to help prevent sticking.

SECRET 5:  Another secret is to boil the meatballs before baking or grilling them. Boil the balls until they float. Boiling helps to keep the meatballs in one piece and ensure that cook.

SECRET 6: Make your meatballs in different shapes. Different shapes give them a more homemade feel and add variety to the eyes. Try flattening them slightly or making them oblong.

SECRET 7: The most important secret to making a great meatball is to think outside the box and explore all of the various cultural cuisines available to us.

RECIPE TASTE PROFILE

The predominant taste sensation of the meatballs is fattiness due to the beef, veal, and pork.  

DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (FOR THOSE FOLLOWING DIRTY PALEO & DIRTY WHOLE30)

The combination of proteins with underlying fattiness call for a red wine with enough weight to match.  Chances are you will be enjoying these meatballs with FRESH DOH grain-free pasta.  If so you’ve also got to consider the density of the fresh pasta noodles.  This dish demands a big red wine, such as Amarone, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, or Grenache/Garnacha.

Below is a tasty and easy ‘go-to’ Italian meatball recipe.  If you decide to serve these meatballs with spaghetti sauce and grain-free noodles, I’ve also included a recipe and instructional video below on how to make FRESH DOH grain and gluten-free fresh pasta.  FRESH DOH Grain and Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix requires water only and a few minutes to roll out the DOH and boil the noodles for 3 minutes.  The noodles are thicker than spaghetti, but provide that fresh pasta al dente umph in the tummy!  The noodles have their very own taste profile.  They are not meant to substitute noodles made from wheat.  That’s impossible.  There is not a food on the planet that can reproduce real Italian pasta made with semolina wheat!  But FRESH DOH fresh noodles will give you that comfort food satisfaction.

MAKING GRAIN-FREE NOODLES FOR THIS DISH

*I have included a recipe and instructional video below on how to make FRESH DOH grain and gluten-free fresh pasta.  FRESH DOH Grain and Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix requires water only and a few minutes to roll out the DOH and boil the noodles for 3 minutes.  Roll by hand, not with a pasta machine.  Remember, the noodles don’t have gluten elasticity!  Don’t roll them too thin or narrow.  They will break.  But if they do, no worries.  Broken noodles taste just as delicious.  The noodles are thick and chewy and ideal for this Japanese noodle cold salad. The noodles have their very own taste profile.  They resemble udon noodles and have that wonderful chewy density.   

I hope you enjoy this recipe using the FRESH DOH fresh pasta dough mix, available on Amazon in North America.  

https://freshdoh.com/fresh-doh-shop

Make noodles as per FRESH DOH Grain & Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Dough Mix package directions. Boil noodles for 3 minutes. When noodles float to the water’s surface, drain and rinse under hot water. Coat with oil. Set aside.

   SECRETS TO MAKING PERFECT DOH:

Follow package directions and always measure! When working with FRESH DOH think of yourself as a “baker”, not a cook. If you don’t measure exactly, you won’t get the right DOH results.

Grain and gluten-free dough (in general) is NOT FORGIVING like wheat dough. Why? Because gluten gives dough its elasticity and that’s why pizza makers can fling a pizza crust above their heads and catch it without any dough breakage.

Without gluten, grain-free DOH has little forgiveness. So follow the directions and refrain from rolling the DOH too thin. If the DOH is too thin you’ll have a challenge cutting and picking up the noodles without breaking them.  

The noodles expand in boiling water so cut them thinner than usual.

Make the other noodle shapes like rotini smaller than usual. They will also expand in size in boiling water.

Using a food processor or mixer (rather than by hand) makes the process of making the DOH easier, faster, and better incorporated.

Be gentle in working with both raw and boiled noodles as they can easily break.

Even if noodles break, they are JUST as tasty. In fact, some dishes call for broken noodles!  

Here is a video to show you how the pasta is made:

  • Author: FRESHDOH
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x
Scale

Ingredients

1 lb. ground veal

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef

½ cup finely chopped yellow onion

¼ cup Homemade Paleo & Whole30 Vegan Parmesan*

*

*Check out this blog for the Paleo & Whole30 Vegan Parmesan recipe:

https://freshdoh.com/blogs/glutenandgrainfreelifestyle/paleo-whole30-vegan-parmesan

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. dried oregano

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup almond meal  

Instructions

Place all ingredients into a bowl. Mix well with your hands. Squeeze the air out of the mixture, throwing it back onto the bowl. Refrigerate for one hour, to let the mixture rest and let flavours come together. Make balls, about one ounce of meat, by rolling tightly to remove any air. Line baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large pot of boiling water, par-cook meatballs until they float, about two minutes. Transfer meatballs to the baking tray. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until brown. Serve with fresh pasta in favourite tomato sauce.

I love to prepare crispy pork balls with pineapple dipping sauce for cocktail-style parties. They are easy to make and offer a sweet flavour and crunchy texture.  Add these meatballs to your favourite Italian pasta sauce, served with FRESH DOH pasta noodles.

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