Wednesday, 24 June 2015

#ewew bakes Pork & Potato Meatballs

I love to eat meatballs, especially pork meatballs, and I usually pan fry them but (lately) I've seen my blogger-friends raving about how easy it is to bake them, so I'm finally going to try baking them, for once.....
........and see how they stack up against pan fried meatballs! ;D
First, I need to prep a few things...cut up 1 medium potato, finely dice 1/2 a small onion and finely chop 1 sprig of spring onion (or parsley).
Then, parboil the potato pieces until it is well soften (it'll take about 15 minutes).  Once you find that it's soft enough, mash it up.
Get your pork mince (150g) and put into a large bowl.  Add the mashed potatoes, onions, spring onions.  I use a binder of 1 beaten egg and 5 tbsp of fresh breadcrumbs to bind everything together (eyeball it...if the mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs).  Season with salt and black pepper to taste. 
[#Tip:  I would recommend the use of a binding agent (like eggs, the most common) as they help to add moisture to the meatballs.  Eggs also help to contribute to the tenderness of the meatballs, so if you don't want dry and dense meatballs, don't skip this step!  Balance that out with fresh breadcrumbs so that your mix will not be overly wet.  You may think that it's very cumbersome to use fresh breadcrumbs but it's not.  Just blitz your leftover bread (or, in my case, the top and bottom pieces of my loaf of bread which I usually discard anyway) and store the breadcrumbs in the fridge (they keep for quite a few months as long as the lid is tight and no moisture gets in.]
Mix it up well and form into balls (approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter or roughly the size of a golf ball).  Visually, it's about the size of a metal spoon.
The mixture should be slightly wet.  I managed to get 11 meatballs out of the mix.  Cover with cling film and pop it into the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up (I usually do this in advance, before actual meal time, so it'll probably be in there for more than an hour).
Get a baking tray and line with aluminium foil.  Smear the foil surface with some olive oil (this is to prevent the meatballs from sticking to the bottom, I hope).  Place your meatballs in the tray (I've also parboiled an extra potato so that I can have some roast potatoes with  my meatballs).  Bake at 200C for 30 minutes.  I turned the tray at the half way mark for more even browning.
This is how it looked straight out of the oven.  And the meatballs stuck to the tin foil...arrghh....just a bit! :(  It didn't achieve the desired browning that I had hoped for...and it also didn't develop that crusty exterior that I would have liked especially at the bottom (it was just a little crusty on top).  I now know why (in cook shows), the chefs would brown the meat first in the pan before putting them in the oven to finish cooking.  This way, they'll achieve a nice browning (for presentation purposes) and a more crusty exterior.  But then, this will defeat our sole purpose of baking our meatballs...coz we didn't want to pan fry in the first place, people! :D  One way to resolve this, I think, is to get a browning agent to help with the browning like flavouring it with soya sauce (instead of salt) or add something sweet like sugar or honey into the mix....even sweet potatoes or pumpkin (coz they're known to release sugars) to help with browning.

Here's my version of Baked Pork & Potato Meatballs with a side of simple roasted potatoes (what can I say, I need my carbs) and a store-bought fruit salad!
The meatballs turned out incredibly tender and moist....everything a meatball should be!  They're good just on their own.
The simple roasted potatoes, seasoned with just salt and black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, were slightly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  
And pair that with a fresh fruit salad of mango cubes, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and some greens, with a citrusy and sweet dressing that tasted a bit like a mango puree, and you're in for a refreshing treat.
But, if you want to take it up a notch (like if you're entertaining or something), you can serve your meatballs with mushroom gravy the for a little bit more pizzazz!  But without all the work.....instant mushroom sauce to the rescue.....courtesy of McCormick...kekeke! :D
Just don't follow the says "Just add hot water", it'll be difficult to stir out all the lumps (I suggest you bring it to boil in a pan and stir constantly).  It also says, add 250ml, it'll be too watery (I suggest you add 175ml).
So, if you want Baked Pork & Potato Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce....that's doable too.....yum!
Of course, I must answer the unavoidable question....which is better...baked meatballs or pan fried meatballs?  Let's not kid ourselves, shall we?  The winner will always be the pan fried meatballs....with a nice sear, fragrant and slightly crisp exterior!  But we also know that it's a lot more work + it's not easy to pan fry large meatballs (and they'll look a bit out shape from all the flipping). 

On the other hand, cooking meatballs in the oven is a lot less messy but the baked meatballs won't develop the desired browning all round and (so) won't be as crusty on the outside.  [#Note: It wasn't possible to flip the meatballs at half time as well coz then you won't even get any browning as it took 30 minutes to achieve the browning on one side.]  So, taste wise, when you bite into the centre, it was more like eating a steamed meatball. 

There's a place for both meatballs in our lives...Hip Hip Hooray!.....depending on our 'mood' (aka laziness) on a particular day or our willingness to compromise on flavour! ;-)


  1. I've tried baking but I think the deep-fried ones have an edge over them. I love that brown outer crust. Can steam or cook as soup too...but deep frying gets my top vote.

    1. I've never deep fried mine....pan frying is the furthest I will take it as it's still able to develop that nice crusty exterior + deep frying is so much more messier! :D

  2. Some say, bake at lower heat for longer, then broil the balls for the last 5 minutes... But I'm too lazy to attempt more meatballs for the time being, pan fried or baked.. >.<

    1. Yes, I've seen that in cooking shows too but that's only if you have a the ones used in restaurants or if your oven has this function.

  3. Ah! Baked meatballs! I have to agree with you that the fried ones get top votes. But still, the baked ones taste good too. Your meatballs are nicely browned and I love the addition of baked potatoes and fruity salad to your platter. Yum! Yum!

    1. You see my meatballs nicely browned.....that's because I chose the nicest looking ones to showcase. Haha! :D And there isn't a nicer pairing than meat and potatoes ;D

  4. Replies
    1. But it is easy....from the meatballs recipe to chucking everything in the oven. Try it once for yourself and see + I'm sure your son will like it....all kids love meatballs!

  5. Very good that you did a review to let us know whether baked pork meatballs are tasty or not. So the verdict is tasty but still cannot fight those pan fried ones. I have not eaten any Western style pork meatballs before, just those Chinese style pork meatballs with cuttlefish in them to give them the sea salty taste. But I have eaten Ikea beef meatballs.

    I am interested in your store-bought fruit salad - looks really tasty with so many types of fruits. Must be expensive with summer berries.

    1. I think that fruit salad cost around RM6 for one serving. Yes, it was indeed a very refreshing salad. I love any fruit salad....but may have to eat at least 3 servings to get anywhere near full....and that will make it expensive! ;D

  6. i like how you gave a lot of helpful tips and practical advice for anyone trying this recipe! :)

    1. So, with all the tips and advice given....will you ever attempt to make it, Sean?.....wakakakakaka!! :D


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