The end of summer has meant a major transition for our family–Two kids in school! That means that this mama has spent every school day on the back of a horse doing cattle-work in the hills. Sanity, freedom, Hallelujah! I mean the little darlings are thrilled to be at school with their friends, right? Why not relish in the fact that the housework is half ways caught up, the “computer ranching” is fully caught up, and my mind and body are grounded by the time spent with a good horse and a good dog, and the fresh air in the hills.
All this activity means that we are more than hungry by the end of the day. And also, with a little bit of renewed energy, I actually feel like getting creative in the kitchen. This time of year is one of abundance, and we may as well take advantage of it. The freezers are bursting and the garden is full with everything a proper ranch kitchen could desire. The kids and I took a trip to the garden and came back with the ingredients we needed for this meal. (And with the biggest carrot we have ever grown. HUGE, ENORMOUS, it had to be dug out in three parts, but I digress….)
Here’s how to make the “MOST DELICIOUS MEATBALLS EVER” (I’m quoting Avery):
First, thaw your ground beef. The best way is to take it out the night before. The spur of the moment way is to put it in the sink under lukewarm water.
Put the chopped onion and bread crumbs in a mixing bowl. I used a freezer-burned whole wheat hamburger bun. They make the easiest breadcrumbs because they crumble beautifully. Add the thawed ground beef and stir until the beef breaks up. Then crack in a large egg ( I hope you have a source of eggs from happy hens). Then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Stir everything together well. I look for the consistency to seem smooth, like everything is really sticking together. Stir in the chopped herbs. We used two kinds of thyme, plenty of basil, rosemary, and LOTS of flat leaf parsley. Mint would also be delicious. The key to this recipe is to use tons of herbs. Why not indulge in all the fresh goodness before the frost hits?
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Shape the mixture into balls and place on a cooling rack set inside a cookie sheet. In other news, this technique is also how we cook our bacon. Pop the meatballs into the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are browned and cooked through.
And while you’re at it with trips to the garden, I suggest that you bring in some flowers- Sweet Peas and Cosmos will make your kitchen smell like heaven. What am I going to do without fresh flowers!
Serve hot out of the oven to your hungry family. There were bribes, compromises, and arm wrestling involved for the right to the last meatball. Really, double or triple this one! The garnish of more parsley and lemon adds intense flavour. A cold Orzo Greek salad with feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and more herbs was the perfect side dish for our Mediterranean theme. And there we have it, all the goodness of the harvest season to bring us together at the end of the day.
- 1 pound grassfed beef
- 1/2 an onion finely chopped
- Approximately 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 large free-range egg
- Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Fresh Herbs approx 1 cup when chopped
- Lemon Thyme
- Flat Leaf Parsley
- Extra Lemon and Flat Leaf Parsley for garnish.
- Thaw ground beef.
- Combine onions, breadcrumbs and beef, mix.
- Add egg and lemon juice and stir until all ingredients start to cling together and look smooth.
- Add herbs, salt and pepper, stir again.
- Shape into balls and place on a cooling rack set into a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until browned and cooked through.
- Serve with fresh lemon wedges and whole stems of flat leaf parsley.