Meatballs for Goodness

After all these years, my nana's meatball recipe is still nurturing and comforting. I am delighted to share once again a simple recipe filled with goodness. Thank you nana for teaching me the essentials of a recipe, even those ingredients not listed here. 

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Nana’s Meatballs, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes 12 Jumbo, 24 large or 40 mini meatballs

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3 pounds ground beef, 80 / 20 blend; can use combo of beef, pork, and veal

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine

2 eggs, cracked and beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups day old Italian bread, pulsed into crumbs

1/2 cup chicken broth, to soften bread crumbs (variable amount may have to add more broth just to soften crumbs) 

Fresh ground black pepper

* Note all ingredients should be very cold before blending. 

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In a mixer or by hand mix all ingredients until well blended. Dip hands in ice water before shaping into round balls.

Spray an oven-roasting pan with grease spray.

Use an ice cream and scoop up meatballs; roll by hand until they are shaped round. Do not over handle as to not over warm up meat. Repeat until all meat is used up. Do not over crowd meatballs to make it easier to move them while baking. 

Refrigerate meatballs for at least 30 minutes to chill. Prepare Tomato Sauce below.

Pre heat a large heavy gauge sauté pan to high heat, or if making a large quantity of meatballs brown in a hot oven at 425 degrees F. 

Roast meatballs for five minutes in oven or on stovetop just until they begin to brown. If roasting gently shake pan to move meatballs to turn over, or use a spatula for meatballs if browning in sauté pan. Continue cooking for a few additional minutes (or less if mini) or until meatballs are brown on the outside. Meatballs will not be fully cooked and will continue to cook in tomato sauce. 

Remove meatballs with a spatula and add to gently simmering sauce and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes. 

For the Tomato Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

1/2 cup minced sweet onion

6 cloves garlic, minced 

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed San Marzano Tomatoes

2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons each fresh chopped parsley and basil

In a large saucepot sauté add olive oil, onion, and garlic over medium heat until light brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with dried basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, pepper, and half of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked browned meatballs and top with fresh chopped parsley and basil before serving. 

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Speedy Side

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

Tune-in GHL CreateTV Wed 8:30AM/2:30PM Sat 7:30AM/7:30PM Sun 8:30AM/1:30PM 

Don't feel like peeling the spuds, or steaming rice on a warm day? Solution, try my cool couscous salad that is ready to serve in a matter of minutes. And, it's a great make-ahead cold side-salad that travels well from your kitchen to tailgate.  

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A staple side of North Africa, Sicily and the Middle East, couscous is made from semolina, or granules of durum wheat. A healthy side dish it contains a 1 % low fat-to calorie ration of  3.6 grams of protein for every 100 grams. But, my flavorful Couscous and Tomato Salad tastes so good. Who will remember the dish is healthy? 

Serve warm or chilled with Grilled Garlic Shrimp, or go all veggie and top with Honey Glazed Acorn Squash.

Couscous and Tomato Salad

Makes four cups 

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1 1/2 cups Couscous

2 cups chicken broth

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 sweet onion, chopped

1/4 sweet red bell pepper, chopped

2 Tablespoons pine nuts and raisins

2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

For Tomato Dressing: 2 Tablespoons lemon juice; 1 Tablespoon honey; 1/2 cup vine ripened tomatoes, chopped; 1/4 cup chick peas; cooked or canned rinsed & drained; 1/4 cup olive oil; 2 teaspoons curry powder; pinch of cinnamon

Pre heat a sauté pan; add one tablespoon olive oil, onions and peppers. Sauté three- five minutes until tender.  Add pine nuts and raisins and cook one additional minute. Add couscous; mix with onion and pepper mixture. Add boiling hot chicken broth, 1 Tablespoon mint, cover and remove from stove. Allow to rest for five minutes.

Meanwhile make Tomato Dressing by mixing tomatoes, chick peas, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, curry, cinnamon and remaining mint.  

After couscous has sat covered for five minutes remove lid and mix with a fork or spoon to loosen granules. Top and mix in the tomato dressing.

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Cinco de Mayo Barbecue Burrito

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

Join me multiple times weekly + Tune-in GHL CreateTV this Sunday May 6th 8:30AM EST

A quick fix burrito, made even better with yesterdays leftover grilled chicken. And, what a great way to kick off grilling season! Although my grilled chicken burrito recipe is not traditional for Cinco de Mayo - you will still get rave reviews. I have.

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Chicken Barbecue Burrito

Barbecue Burrito

Makes 6 serving

From Grilling with Chef George Hirsch cookbook

2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup Barbecue Chicken Burrito Rub

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce

Twelve 10-inch flour tortillas

Season chicken with rub and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Pre heat grill to high.

Brush chicken with olive oil, place on grill and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Move the chicken to a cooler side of the grill and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to cool for five minutes. Shred the meat, combine it with barbecue sauce in a small saucepan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on the grill or side burner.

To serve, place 3-4 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center of each flour tortilla. Fold each side toward the center and roll up from the bottom. Place the burritos on a medium-hot grill and heat on both sides for a total of 1 to 2 minutes.

Chicken Burrito Rub

Makes 1/3 cup

1 Tablespoon each sweet paprika, oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store in a tightly covered jar.

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Since March is unofficially 'Irish Awareness Month', I want to offer you the luck of the Irish by kicking off a St. Patrick's Day food tradition with Corn Beef and Cabbage...umm Irish-American that is, and not really part of the repast on the Emerald Aisle. 

Since the early 1900s, Americans proclaimed corned beef and cabbage to be their favorite Irish dish, even though it really never had graced dinner tables in Ireland. Since then, Americans have embraced it as the meal of choice for St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. Corned beef got its name before refrigeration, when meat was preserved using coarse grains of salt, called 'corn'. Today, beef is corned with spices strictly for flavor, not for preservation, so the meat must be refrigerated. Whether you're a wee bit Irish or not, boost your luck by celebrating St. Patrick's Day with friends and a feast. 

It is said that President Grover Cleveland once noticed the aroma of Corned Beef and Cabbage coming from the servants quarters at the White House. He asked to trade his dinner for that of the staff meal. He commented "that this was the best dinner I had had in months.."

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit, Gaelic for Saint Patrick's Day

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Corned Beef and Cabbage with Boiled Vegetables

Serves six-eight 

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle

3 pound corned beef brisket 

4 cloves garlic, peeled 

Fresh ground black pepper 

2 Tablespoons pickling spices, 

3 bay leaves 

1/4cup sugar 

1/4cup cider vinegar 

1 large onion, peeled and quartered 

6 carrots, peeled 

6 Yukon potatoes, scrubbed 

3 turnips, peeled 

1 head cabbaged, leave core on and cut into eights 

Place corned beef brisket in a very large soup pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover meat. Add sugar, cider vinegar, pickling spices, bay leaves, and garlic. 

Bring to a boil over rather high heat. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the any scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon. 

Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Test the meat for tenderness with a large fork, it should have a little resistance, be careful not to overcook corned beef or the meat will become dry and stringy. If fully tender turn off the heat and let the meat rest in the liquid. 

One hour before serving and before the meat finishes, add all the vegetables in the pot with the meat. 

Timetable for the vegetables: 

• onions, simmer 1 hour 

• carrots, potatoes and turnips simmer 30 minutes 

• cabbage simmer 20-30 minutes 

Slice only as much meat as you will immediately serve, keeping the rest in one piece for future use. Serve with a variety of mustards and horseradish.

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