Last night I made one of my favourite dishes. It’s a comfort food, and can be DIRT CHEAP for all you out there with families. I am not going to include exact amounts and I typically do not when sharing recipes as this will vary considerably depending on your families needs. Baking requires specifics but cooking does NOT! this isn’t a science, it’s an art – and it might take a while for you to figure out what ratios of spice etc you prefer.
(Kudos to my mom for this recipe!)
Ground meat – I used 1 standard size meat tray of beef, and half of one of pork. I believe these are usually around 1 kilo each but I did not measure – I buy in bulk and eyeball when I repack for the freezer
Cooked Rice, cooled – one of the small ricecooker measuring cups worth, I add salt and pepper to the water before cooking. Must be roomtemperature or colder ( I drop the rice bowl in a snowbank to cool it faster)
Gluten free oats – not really necessary but I need the fiber and nutrition so I sneak them in as filler
Garlic – minced ( lots)
large onion- 3/4 dice, 1/4 fine mince.
Tomatoes – Dice
Tomato sauce – 1 can should do
parsley – chopped
Sambal oelek chilli paste
Sriracha hot sauce
Rice Chex – crushed
1. I chop tomato, garlic, onion, parsley. Sweat in pot w/ olive oil, then add tomato sauce, reserve 1/4 of the onion and half the garlic to go in the meat. I love garlic. Use a shit-ton. trust me. You want to. I put in some sriracha and some sambal, salt, pepper, chilli powder, italian and poultry seasonings. My goal here is to get a tomato sauce that is flavourful but still a bit sweet – and it should still be liquidy as the meatballs will absorb any leftovers (but not like water dammit! it still needs to cling to your balls!). A splash of vinegar helps the flavours blend and gives it a bit of tartness. I don’t boil it – I simmer on the stove until it has a combinations of flavours I enjoy. The tomato sauce will be your secret ingredient- it can be made simply or with style, and will be what gives the “edge” to your dish. Have fun, enjoy making it, and throw in those secret techniques you have for pasta sauces. You know what one i’m talking about. It’s your favourite, and would be GREAT in this casserole.
2.While this is simmering I put the rice in a bowl once cooled down, I add a tablespoon of sriracha, minced garlic, minced onion, chopped parsley and a handful of oats, a dash of gluten free soy sauce, and spices. The spices I add are normally ones chosen to compliment the ones in the sauce – something similar but not exactly the same. I mix this thoroughly. It should still be damp or I add some of the tomato sauce in to increase the moisture level as if the oats/rice are too dry, the meatballs won’t stick together. Some olive oil is also useful, but you also dont’ want them TOO liquidy or you’ll have to add more fillers again!
3. I add the beef and pork to the bowl and knead it together. Once it is a homogenous mixture you can make one small meatball and fry it off if you want to test your flavour- I don’t need to, as i’ve made this or similar dishes very frequently. Once the mixture is ready, (all mixed together with no clumps of any single ingredient, sticks together in a ball when you roll it in your hands – add more oil if too dry, more oats if too wet) I put a light layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of my casserole dish ( so balls don’t stick, doncha know! also useful to have some on the sides of the dish for same reason), then roll them into balls and get them in there ( one layer!! ONE!!!! YOU WANT SAUCE AND CRISP ON EVERY BALL!)
4. omnom. now you have casserole dishes filled with PLUMP JUICY BALLS. they contain rice. Thats the porcupine bit.
5. pour tomato sauce over your balls. I use a spoon to make sure every ball has a coating of tomato sauce. You want your balls to be very, very wet and saucy.
6. Crush the Chex ( it’s gluten free thats why I use it ) or whatever cereal you have handy. Mix in some italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, spices, chillipowder. Sprinkle over your casseroles in an even coat. Physics says the larger bits of crushed cereal will be on the top, so keep that in mind as the bottom 1/4 of your bowl is going to be mostly spices and smaller chunks – so I sprinkle that over both of the casserole dishes after making sure I had an even coat of the larger crispies. This ensures that you have spice from coast to coast in your casserole dish, instead of large chunks towards one side and all the spice at the end.
7. put in a pre-heated 450 degree oven, covered , for about an hour (depending on oven) then uncovered until the top has crisped up . It might be ready before then, but i’m pork-paranoid so I had mine in uncovered for 30 minutes just to be safe.
8. Remove from the oven, serve with heavy bread. ( I use a millet glutenfree loaf that I love, but my roommates really liked this with rye bread). I normally don’t make side dishes with this one because I sneak everything you need into the meat balls – they have your veg starch and protein!
9. sit you ass down and enjoy some balls already. Seriously. Why are you still here? go, eat! EAT! SKINNY BOY! DO YOU NOT EAT WHEN YOU ARE AT HOME?
Hope you enjoyed!