Meatballs, A Hosts’ Friend

I personally don’t believe you can have too many recipes for meatballs for serving as appetizers or whatever else you can think of!  These ones have all received 2 thumbs up!  Perfect party food to my mind!

Spanish Tapas Meatballs

These little morsels would be a big hit at any tapas party! The perfume of saffron, paprika and garlic transports you to Spain! Saffron is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way and can be used in many dishes such as Milanese rice and paella. Don’t cheap out on the saffron, get the good stuff, you will be a lot happier with the results! It adds such a lovely nuance to food, that I think it’s worth the expense, not only that,  it keeps forever.  I have found that I need to double this recipe they are so good!

Makes About 32 Meatballs

1 lb. ground meat, a mixture of pork & veal (or pork & beef is also very good)
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 ½” thick slice French bread, crust removed, soaked in water 3 minutes & squeezed dry
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Unbleached flour

EVOO for frying (approx. ¼ cup)
¼ cup chopped onion
½ tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika (I use Spanish sweet paprika just to keep things authentic)
1 cup (or more) dry white wine
¼ tsp. crumbled saffron threads (not powder)

Combine ground meats together with the 1 Tbsp. parsley, half the garlic, the egg, bread, ½ tsp. salt & ½ tsp. ground pepper in a medium bowl just to blend. Form the mixture into 1” balls. Dust the meatballs with flour & set aside.

Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs & fry until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan, using a slotted spoon & transfer to a plate. Add onion to the skillet; reduce heat to medium & sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika, then 1 cup of broth & the wine. Return meatballs with any accumulated juices to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover & cook the meatballs until they are tender, about 25 minutes.

Uncover; add 2 Tbsp. parsley, remaining garlic & saffron. Simmer until sauce thickens, turning the meatballs occasionally, about 10 minutes. Tip:  normally I put the saffron into the wine & let it stand for 15 minutes before adding it. I think it brings out the flavour more, but you don’t have to. Season sauce to taste with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Place the meatballs on a serving platter & top with 1 Tbsp. parsley.

Note: you can make the meatballs 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, cover & put in the fridge. Bring them to a simmer, thinning the sauce with more chicken broth if necessary.

Asian Meatballs

I wish I had discovered these incredibly easy to make meatballs years ago! I love these meatballs. They get glazed in the oven and are really scrumptious.  Great to make ahead & reheat when needed. A good thing to take to a party! Just reheat when you need them.

1 lb. lean ground pork
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. dry sherry
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs**

Dipping Sauce:

½ cup mango chutney (I prefer  Patak’s), large pieces chopped
2 tsp. hoisin sauce

Garnish: sesame seeds &  sprigs of cilantro

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Combine all ingredients (except sauce ingredients & garnish); mix thoroughtly, but with a light hand. Form the mixture into ¾” balls. Place on a well-oiled, rimmed baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Combine sauce ingredients and serve at room temperature. You can, if you wish, heat the sauce in the microwave, covered, for about 1 minute.

Place the hot meatballs on a serving platter, top with sesame seeds & cilantro; serve with the sauce.

Note: these meatballs freeze very well. Thaw & reheat in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes or microwave at full power for 1 – 2 minutes.

If you would like to make your own breadcrumbs, click Making Breadcrumbs.

Greek Meatballs

These meatballs are just plain delicious with the lovely flavour of mint & cinnamon. I usually serve them with a tzatziki sauce for dipping. FYI: one of the other things I do, besides serving as an appetizer,  is serve them in warm pita bread with some chopped tomato, onion & lettuce, drizzled with tahini sauce. Tasty stuff!

½ lb. ground lamb
½ lb. ground beef
**I use all ground beef combining ½ lb. each medium &  lean beef, but feel free to use the lamb
1 beaten egg
½ cup soft bread crumbs**
1 small onion, very finely chopped (approx. 1/3 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh mint, minced
¼ to ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Tzatziki Dip:

Probably more than you need, but what the heck, it keeps for a few days & with a few olives & some warm pita, makes a welcome appy! Or how about serving some with  grilled Greek lamb chops? However, you can cut the recipe in half.

2 cups plain yogurt (I like Liberte Mediterranean, but a good thick Greek yogurt would also be great)
½ English cucumber
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. EVOO
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

Take a large piece of well rinsed cheesecloth (Julia Child always recommended rinsing to remove the medicinal aroma from the cheesecloth). Line a sieve with the cheesecloth. Place the yogurt into the sieve; place over a bowl and cover. Allow to drain in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Grate the cucumber & place in a sieve over a bowl; salt the cucumber & allow to drain for about 20 minutes. Remove yogurt & place in a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as possible, using your hands; add to the yogurt. Smash the garlic & sprinkle with a little sea salt. By pressing & spreading with the back of a chef’s knife, puree the garlic & add to the yogurt mixture. Add the lemon juice, EVOO, Dijon mustard & dill. Blend well. Place in the fridge for an hour or so to blend the flavours. Season with salt if required.

Make The Meatballs:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine egg & bread crumbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the onion, garlic, mint, cinnamon, salt & pepper;  add the ground meat combine well; but with a light hand. Shape into 1” balls.

Place meatballs onto a well-oiled rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through.

If you would like to make breadcrumbs, click Making Breadcrumbs.

Tahini Sauce:  (in case you want to try the meatballs in pita)

½ cup tahini
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup EVOO
¼ cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. hot pepper sauce (Tabasco) or I like to use Harissa**, to taste
2 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl & whisk to combine.

Harissa is a pepper puree, in a tube, available at Middle Eastern Stores & in some grocery stores.

If you would like to make your own breadcrumbs, click Making Breadcrumbs.

Indian Meatballs

With the popularity of south Asian cuisine, this recipe certainly deserves to be added to the meatball repertoire! I like to serve them with two different dips.

½ cup light (golden raisins)
½ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted**
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground allspice
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground beef (not too lean), or ground lamb

Garnish: cilantro sprigs

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the raisins & almonds in the bowl of a food processor & process till just finely chopped.

In a bowl combine the raisin mixture, onions, cinnamon, salt, allspice and garlic. Add ground meat. Mix well, using a light hand. Form into 1” balls. Arrange meatballs on a well-oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until no pink remains, turning once if you like.  Drain if necessary. Place on a serving platter, garnish with cilantro ad serve with dips.


1.  Combine thick yogurt with a finely minced clove of garlic & finely chopped red onion to taste.  Chill until ready to use.
2.  Mango chutney, hot or mild (I prefer Pataks.)

If you would like to make breadcrumbs, click Making Breadcrumbs.  

 If you wish to see how to toast nuts, click Toasting Nuts.

Phyllis Signature

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