For most of my life, I made meatballs with raw meat.
When I started pressure canning meat to free up room in the freezer, I started using 1 part canned (cooked) meat to 1 part raw, and the resulting meatballs were indistinguishable from those made with all raw meat.
Last week, when I forgot to defrost some raw meat to mix with the canned, I decided to see what would happen if I used all canned (i.e. cooked) meat and I'm happy to report that they were edible! I was in a hurry and didn't want to bother with sauteing the onions so I used scallions and chopped them finely. The whole thing, including baking, came together in 30 minutes!
They were different than meatballs made with raw meat - much more tender, to the point where my husband asked if they were cooked all the way. I knew they were cooked, but to prove it I made another batch which I cooked for longer and they were dry and unappetizing.
I started with my gluten-free master recipe and just used all canned meat. If you don't have canned, you can use leftover meat, finely chopped or ground. I used canned ground beef but you can use any kind of meat - beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken, or turkey.
Original recipe: Gluten free meatballs
Meatball-croquettes Made with Cooked/Leftover Meat
For each pound of cooked, chopped or ground meat:
- 1 large or 2 small eggs
- 1/3 c chia meal (or potato flakes*)
- 1/4 c. cream
- 1-1.5 t. salt
- 3-4 green onions, minced
- seasonings (use your favorite recipe - I have made Italian, French, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Tunesian, Russian, Cajun, Belgian, and Greek )
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat the eggs and cream together, then stir in the chia meal (or potato flakes) and the salt. Let this sit for at least 10 minutes to develop the panade (binder).
Meanwhile, mince the onions and measure out whatever seasonings you're using.
When the panade has thickened, stir in the onions and seasoning. Add the meat and mix well. Fry a small piece and correct seasoning.
Form into 1-1.5" meatballs (I use a size 60, 1.5" disher).
Place the meatballs close together on baking pan lined with Silpat, parchment, or parchment backed foil. .
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Do not overcook or they'll be dry and tough!
I served them on a bed of arugula with a dollop of sour cream. Here's what the inside looks like:
The leftovers were good cold, dipped into leftover bearnaise sauce....