Giant Bear Meatballs in Red Sauce
Prep Time: 10min (plus grinding and making red sauce)
Cooking Time: 20min
People: 3; should make 6-8 giant balls
1.5-2lbs ground Bear meat (Chuck Meat)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin Olive Oil, plus more for baking sheet & plating
2 large Eggs
1½ cups Panko Breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 cup Milk (or water)
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Sweet Paprika
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1.5 tbsp. Ricotta Cheese
1 oz. Grana Padano Cheese (or Parmesan), finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
Fresh Parsley (for serving)
Fresh Basil (for serving)
Warm homemade or store-bought tomato sauce
Red Sauce Ingredients
3 Cans (796ml cans) peeled whole tomatoes
1 med-lg white onion (diced)
1 large fire roasted red pepper (diced)
5 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 tsp. anchovy paste or 3 anchovies diced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
a pinch of chili flakes
1 parmesan rind (optional).
- To grind your own meat, you first want to trim up any excessive silver skin and then cut it into smaller chunks so it can fit through the grinder easily.
- Setup your grinder with the larger size holes, somewhere around a ¼”, and then start grinding your meat, the colder the meat and grinder the better.
- After it all passes through once, we like to run it all through one more time, this will help break down all the connective tissue properly.
- Now that everything is ground, it’s time to make our meatballs, in a large bowl mix;
- 1½ Cups of Panko Breadcrumbs, which is a light and crunchy Japanese breadcrumb that can be found pretty much anywhere. Though you could use regular breadcrumbs if you like. These crumbs will be help make the meatballs nice and light.
- We also have 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Milk, you could also use water here but the extra fat the milk has helps in this recipe.
- 5 tbsp. of Ricotta Cheese, again this is a great addition of fat and moisture to your balls.
- 1 oz. Grana Padano Cheese, you could also use Parmesan.
- 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Sweet Paprika
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Black Pepper
- We’re looking to create a wet mixture here. Wetting your breadcrumbs before adding them to the meat will help give the meatballs moisture, whereas if you just add dry breadcrumbs to the meat, it will actually draw moisture out of the balls. It’s also important to mix all the ingredients before the meat is added, so you don’t over work the meat, which can result in tough meatballs.
- Once all is mixed, add a quarter of the meat to the bowl and mix well. This step helps distribute all the ingredients more evenly without over mixing the whole batch of meat.
- Now go ahead and add the rest of your meat and mix everything up, just until everything is combined, try not to over mix here.
- Grab a large sheet pan and put a good amount of oil down. We’re just going to use this to hold the meatballs before cooking, but we don’t want them to stick. The oil will also help in creating a crunchy exterior when cooking. Get your hands nicely covered in oil and start rolling your balls out. We’re looking to form balls that are fairly big, somewhere around the size of a hard ball, you should end up with about 6 to 8 balls.
- Get a large cast iron pan over medium high heat, add some sunflower oil and brown the meatballs, this should only take a couple minutes of cooking on each side, brown the edges too if you can.
- Add the tomato sauce and turn heat down to medium low and simmer the balls for 7-10mins or until an internal temp of 165°F, flip the balls a couple times for even cooking.
- Serves 1-2 balls per person with extra sauce and a fresh grating of cheese, some fresh basil and parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
- To make the homemade tomato sauce: sauté onions for a few minutes over medium heat in large pot with oil and salt & pepper. Add garlic & anchovies and cook a couple minutes more. Add the roasted red pepper, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook for another few minutes. Add the cans of tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Add some salt and pepper and a used parmesan rind if you have one. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and cover, let simmer for 30min. Uncover, stir and keep simmering on low uncovered for 30-60min.