I had some ground beef leftover from making burgers and instead of making more burgers, I wanted to do something different, i.e. make meatballs. Plain meatballs, that is. Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and whatnot would be tasty, but I didn't want anything fancy. I turned to Pioneer Woman for this simple version and added herbs to my own liking. I've never thought of adding milk to meatballs and didn't realize how weird it would be until I actually did. The meat turned really soft and I was afraid the shape wouldn't hold. But I followed Pioneer Woman's advice and placed them in the freezer for five minutes and, though they were still a bit mushy, they held their shape fine when cooking. These meatballs are very tender thanks to the milk! I loved the plain taste of beef with the background flavors of oregano, salt, and pepper.
As for the sauce, I knew I wanted to cook the meatballs with the sauce, so I searched around and found one that sounded delicious! I love balsamic vinegar in tomato sauce, so I instantly chose this recipe. It smells amazing as it is simmering. I adjusted the instructions so I could cook everything in the same pot, so click on the link if you'd like to read the original post. The meatballs are originally baked with barbecue sauce smothered on top, so head to Pioneer Woman's site for that recipe, too.
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman and The Kitchn
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tbsp onion, finely minced
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs (oregano or basil works)
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 (28-oz) cans peeled plum tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt & pepper
1. In a bowl, combine the beef, oats, milk, onion, salt, herbs, and black pepper. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.
2. Heat oil in pan and add meatballs. Brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, crushing them with a spoon or your hands as you add them.
4. Add the garlic, bay leaf and balsamic vinegar and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes, and then taste and add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.