A quest to make a meatball capable of satisfying any spice addict.
This adventure was based on this aptly-titled recipe, Meatball Nirvana, with the addition of chopped habanero peppers, the incorporation of Scorpion pepper hot sauce, and the use of homemade bread crumbs.
- Half of a large white onion and three habanero peppers were diced. (The seeds of the pepper were kept to maximize heat.) ***Note: I did not dice the onion fine enough in my experiment (my knife sucks and I'm only used to using onion in sauces wherein the onion chunks disintegrate). This resulted in large chunks of onion in my meatball which didn't ruin the flavor or texture but looked unappealing.
- The onion and habanero were combined with lean (96%) ground beef (454 g), Italian seasoning (7.5 cc), oregano (4 cc), red pepper flakes (8 cc), garlic salt (2.5 cc), and table salt (2.5 cc).
- Worcestershire sauce (15 mL) and hot sauce (15 mL) were added to the mixture which was then well combined in a stand mixer using a flat beater paddle at low speed.
- Bread crumbs were prepared by leaving two slices of homemade white bread out overnight. The bread was then lightly toasted and crumbled in a food processor. Bread crumbs (118 cc), skim milk (79 mL), and grated Parmesan cheese (59 cc) were added to the meat mixture and combined via low speed mixing followed by final mixing with a wooden spoon.
- The meatball mixture was formed into meatballs of the desired size which were placed on a bare baking tray.
- Meatballs were cooked at 200 C for approximately 20 minutes, with the trays being turned halfway through the cooking time.
- Meatballs were placed onto toasted homemade pesto bread soaked with garlic oil (add crushed garlic clove to olive oil and microwave until hot) and covered with a spicy marinara sauce.
- Finish with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Have a cool beverage handy and enjoy!
As a chili-head myself, I found these meatballs suitably spicy. The pesto incorporated into the bread along with the garlic oil slathering bring Italian flavors throughout the final product, and I believe these meatballs would also be delicious in a spaghetti application. As an improvement, I would definitely recommend a much finer chop for the onion and habanero peppers to make the flavor more uniform, make the product appear more appetizing, and better facilitate the molding of the meatballs.