Winter Meatballs

Melissa Graham of The Purple Asparagus shares her recipe for winter meatballs!

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preparation Time
20 mins

cook Time
45 mins


930 per serving


  • 1-1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 14 ounces bulk pork sausage
  • 14 ounces ground beef
  • 1 pounds ground pork
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, roasted and cloves mashed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium size garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken or beef stock
  • 2 28 ounce cans tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 sprig winter savory
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar, optional
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley



Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for 10 minutes in a large bowl. Whisk together the egg and sour cream in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including the whisked egg, into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Mix together thoroughly, but gently, with your hands.


Before you begin browning the meatballs, start making the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, less than a minute. Pour in wine and let it reduce by half. Add stock, tomatoes, oregano, savory sprig, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring the pot to a simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and if it seems particularly acidic, add sugar. Cook for another 10 to 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. When the sauce is at the proper consistency, add the cream and cook for about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and cook for two minutes longer. Remove from the heat until the meatballs are all browned.


While the tomato sauce is cooking, scoop 1/4-cup size balls onto a parchment or Silpat-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roll them into meatballs. Heat the oil in a non-stick saut pan set over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until just browned on one side and flip. They will not be cooked all the way at this point. Remove to another rimmed baking sheet or casserole dish. Dump in the browned meatballs and any juices that have accumulated in the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes to cook the meatballs. Serve in a chafing dish, on spaghetti, or on top of Italian bread, sprinkled with parsley.

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