I admit I spent most of the past 24 hours fantasizing about what I would have for dinner tonight. Inglewood pizza? Mu Shu pork from KamHan? Ooooh – butter chicken and fresh garlic-butter naan from the Taj Mahal!
Unfortunately, it being -300 degrees outside, our car froze solid and so all of those options flew out the window. But really, it occurred to me that after 24 hours without food, anything I eat will taste bloody fantastic, so I might as well make it something healthy. And because I was still a little dopey, Mike took over dinner duties and made spaghetti and meatballs.
The meatballs came from a stash we threw into the fridge over the holidays – once in awhile we’ll mix up a big batch, roll cookie sheet loads of meatballs, freeze them and then transfer them to freezer bags for dinner emergencies such as this. As the pasta is cooking, brown the frozen meatballs in a hot skillet, then pour the sauce overtop and simmer to warm the sauce and cook the meatballs though, while infusing the sauce with a beefy/bisony/sausagey flavor (depending on your choice of meat). These were actually bison balls – not in the prairie oyster sense, but made from ground bison, which has less than half the fat of beef. In fact, bison contains less fat than skinless chicken, turkey, or even halibut. Because it’s so lean, make sure you cook it for about a third less time than you would beef – otherwise it tends to be dry, which is the biggest issue people tend to have with it. If you’re a carnivore and think you don’t like bison, try it again.
1 lb. ground bison
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread or cracker crumbs
a bit of grated onion (optional)
a squirt of tomato paste, ketchup or barbecue sauce (about a tablespoon)
salt & pepper to taste
Mix everything together in a bowl, making sure you don’t work it too hard. Shape into 1” balls. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, then transfer to freezer bags to store for up to 4 months, or bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. To make spaghetti sauce, brown the fresh or frozen meatballs in a drizzle of oil in a hot skillet, rolling them around to brown on all sides, then pour tomato sauce over top and simmer until they are cooked through.
Makes about 3 dozen.