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Mastering Perfect Meatballs

Do you know how to make perfect meatballs?

Tim Love does.

Love, the chef and owner of the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas, prepared his favorite meatball recipes "The Early Show," and shared some secrets to making great meatballs in your own kitchen.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore

Love's perfect meatballs are a combination of ground beef and pork, which he says give the final product a much more intense flavor than just using ground beef alone. In addition to the beef/pork meatballs, Love brought some of his other favorites including a lamb meatball, and a veal meatball.

RECIPES:

Pork & Beef Meatballs

INGREDIENTS:
2 quarts fresh beef stock (see recipe below)
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup pecorino finely grated
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil blend

METHOD:
Make stock and bring to a simmer.

In a stainless steel bowl add meat, pecorino, thyme, paprika, garlic, and bread crumbs. Mix by hand. Add salt and pepper and mix by hand again making sure the mixture is seasoned throughout. Form mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add oil and sear meatballs on all sides. Using a slotted spoon transfer meatballs from skillet to simmering stock to finish for 15 minutes.

Remove from stock and serve or chill immediately to reserve for next day service.

Beef Stock

Makes 2 quarts

INGREDIENTS:
8 pounds beef bones, cut into 2 inch hunks
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 leek, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, quartered or ½ cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 garlic cloves, smashed, optional

*If you want to make lamb stock, substitute lamb bones for the beef bones and continue with the recipe

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Arrange the bones in a roasting pan, large enough to hold them in a single layer. Roast in the oven until dark golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours, turning to brown all sides. After one hour, add the remaining ingredients to brown. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot, 10-12 quarts.
Pour off the fat from the roasting pan and deglaze the pan with 2 cups of water, scraping up any particles that stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour into the stockpot with enough additional water to cover the ingredients by 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered 4 - 6 hours, skimming the foam as it accumulates on top, and adding water as needed to keep the bones and vegetables covered at all times.

Strain the liquid into a clean pot, pressing down to extract all the juices. Reduce, over medium heat, until 2 quarts remain.

Cool and refrigerate in a covered container up to 3 days, discarding any hardened layer of fat before using or freezing.

The stock can be frozen in small quantities and used as needed.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

Lamb Meatballs

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound ground lamb
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup shallot minced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper

METHOD:
Make lamb or beef stock and bring to a simmer. In a stainless steel bowl add meat, garlic, chili powder, rosemary, thyme, egg and shallot. Mix by hand. Add salt and pepper and mix by hand again making sure the mixture is seasoned throughout. Form mixture into 11/2 inch balls. Place a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add oil and sear meatballs on all sides. Using a slotted spoon transfer meatballs from skillet to simmering stock to finish for 15 minutes. Remove from stock and serve or chill immediately to reserve for next day service.

Aioli

INGREDIENTS:
1 toasted ground cumin
7 garlic cloves
1 lemon juice and zest
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup blended oil
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:
Slowly add all ingredients to the food processor, except for the oil. Puree until all the ingredients are well blended. Slowly add the oil until mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise.

Veal Meatballs

INGREDIENTS:
2 quarts fresh veal or beef stock (see recipe below)
1 pound ground veal
3/4 cup pecorino finely grated
3 tablespoons chopped sage
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil blend

METHOD:
Make stock and bring to a simmer. In a stainless steel bowl add meat, pecorino, sage, garlic, and bread crumbs. Mix by hand. Add salt and pepper and mix by hand again making sure the mixture is seasoned throughout. Form mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add oil and sear meatballs on all sides. Using a slotted spoon transfer meatballs from skillet to simmering stock to finish for 15 minutes. Remove from stock and serve or chill immediately to reserve for next day service

Veal Stock

Makes 2 quarts

INGREDIENTS:
8 pounds veal bones (or veal and beef bones), cut into 2 inch hunks
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 leek, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, quartered or 1/2 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 garlic cloves, smashed, optional

*If you want to make lamb stock, substitute lamb bones for the veal and beef bones and continue with the recipe

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the bones in a roasting pan, large enough to hold them in a single layer. Roast in the oven until dark golden brown, about 1 ½ hours, turning to brown all sides. After one hour, add the remaining ingredients to brown. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot, 10-12 quarts.

Pour off the fat from the roasting pan and deglaze the pan with 2 cups of water, scraping up any particles that stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour into the stockpot with enough additional water to cover the ingredients by 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered 4 - 6 hours, skimming the foam as it accumulates on top, and adding water as needed to keep the bones and vegetables covered at all times.

Strain the liquid into a clean pot, pressing down to extract all the juices. Reduce, over medium heat, until 2 quarts remain.

Cool and refrigerate in a covered container up to 3 days, discarding any hardened layer of fat before using or freezing.

The stock can be frozen in small quantities and used as needed.