Every year (or so) we buy a side of beef. The biggest problem I have with that is... what the heck do you do with half a dead cow? And I'm not a huge fan of beef anyway. This last time, we specifically told the butcher we did not want any more than 75# or so pounds of ground beef, and that they should find other more creative ways of dealing with the rest of it. Stew beef is always a lovely option.
When we went to pick it up, we had no less than ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY NINE pounds of ground. 129. Pounds. And I know I'm remembering that correctly, because I made mention of it on a chat site, and I can go back and check. That was a little over a year ago, and we still have 60 pounds or so lurking about the freezer. See, this is the problem with buying locally and in bulk. Why can't they make cows that consist only of rib eye steaks with one roast, #20 of stew beef, and #50 of ground. Richard, if you are reading this, may I suggest you look into Low Line Angus or some other tiny bovine?
So, naturally, we are getting a bit desperate for ways to use this ground beef. Thus Meatball Fest was conceived. This past weekend, while most of America was out scrambling around trying to get the best deal on a new flat screen TV, we were over at the neighbors making meat balls. I took a #20 pound tote full of beef out and put it on the side porch to thaw (I am a big fan of natural refrigeration), and Mike and Shelly gathered the other ingredients. We always have enough eggs we can collect up, even though Mom's chickens are moulting and a bit off their game.
Shelly had her mother's meatball recipe, and I had my Grandmother's Swedish Meatball recipe. We roughly divided the beef between the two, warmed the Glogg, put on Christmas music and popped open a bottle of wine. The meatballing commenced. We didn't have a firm plan of attack, but each of us fell into our favored tasks. Mike tried peeling onions which brought him to tears. I took over because they don't bother me. Shelly measured out ingredients and watched the timer, acting as referee between the many tasks to be done in a relatively small area. Mike mixed the large batches by hand. Tim worked the scooper keeping two roller's hands full, and ran trays in and out of the garage to cool.
Six hours later we had many dozen baked meatballs divied up into zip lock bags and back in the freezer. Through the Holidays and the winter, if we need a quick hors d'oeuvres or dinner idea, all we have to do is grab the appropriate number of bags of home made meatballs out of the freezer, and we're in business. I think next we ought to have a Korv stuffing party.
Grandma's Swedish Meatballs:
3 pounds of ground beef
3 medium onions diced
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I use the Italian seasoned ones)
4 shakes of black pepper
4 shakes of Allspice
roll into small meatballs, makes about 3 dozen
To cook them you have two options. You can place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Or, you can lightly flour them, brown them in a frying pan, then put them in beef broth to simmer for an hour. When I serve them at the Holiday, I put them in a crock pot, cover them with broth, and put them on low.