Recently, when both kids ventured home for spring break, we found ourselves making several batches of our favorites. The first, a hearty beef and pork combo packed with chives and dill, tastes great with a light pan gravy and buttered spaetzle to sop up all the goodness.
Always use the freshest ground meat available: Check the dates on packaged meat or ask the butcher to grind it to order. Request a fine grind for delicate meatballs and a coarser grind for hearty specimens such as those destined to simmer in sauce or stews.
Fresh herbs and freshly ground spices are worth the trouble. Always.
Use bread to add a light texture and to bind the meat for easy shaping. Soaking the bread in liquid allows it to incorporate completely into the meat.
Do not overwork the meat mixture or the meatballs will be tough; use clean, wet hands and work gently to mix the seasonings into the meat.
Check for proper seasoning by tasting a little of it before shaping the meatballs: Fry a dollop quickly in a small skillet and then taste it, and adjust the main mixture accordingly.
Shape the meatballs in advance, then chill an hour or more so the seasonings meld into the meat and they'll keep their shape during cooking.
Cook the meatballs in nonstick (or well-seasoned cast-iron) skillet so you can use a minimum of fat and have easy cleanup.
Cook meatballs in oil suited for high-heat cooking, such as expeller-pressed canola oil or peanut oil.
Work in uncrowded batches in the pan to get maximum browning, which adds flavor.
Use a thin, heatproof spatula to loosen the meatballs from the pan, then turn them with tongs as they brown.
A splatter guard will help keep the cooktop clean.
Completely cooked and cooled, meatballs can be refrigerated up to several days or frozen for several months.
Rewarm meatballs in a moderate oven (300 degrees) or in the microwave on medium (50 percent) power.
Herbed meatballs with creamy dill sauce
Prep: 30 minutes