I. Freaking. Love. Meatballs. In fact, I’m pretty certain 50 Cent knew nothing of fat kids’ loves when he was rapping about cake. Any fat kid that knows what’s up would take a saucy little meatball over a crumbly slice of Duncan Hines hands down. And that’s the truth.
In this version, juicy spheres of herb-studded, organic, grass fed beef are roasted to develop a crisp crust and then bathed in a super fast tomato sauce chock full of bacon and thick ribbons of chard. Serve over whole wheat or brown rice pasta for a meal that’s as balanced as it is satisfying.
Braised Meatballs with Bacon & Chard
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 50 mins | Serves 4
For the Meatballs
- 1/2 c panko
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 T chopped fresh herbs (basil/sage/oregano/rosemary/thyme all work well)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- dash nutmeg
- s&p to taste
- 1.3 -1.5 lbs ground beef
For the Sauce
- 4-6 slices thick cut bacon, roughly diced
- 1 bunch swiss chard, tough stems removed/leaves chopped
- 24 oz prepared pasta sauce (scratch or purchased)
- freshly grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 450F. Combine all meatball ingredients except beef in large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add beef and mix lightly with your hands (or a fork) until incorporated. Roll into golf ball-sized spheres and bake on a rimmed cookie sheet until browned, about 25-30 mins.
Meanwhile, brown bacon over med-high heat in a large pot or dutch oven until crisp. Add chopped chard and saute until greens begin to wilt. Stir in prepared pasta sauce and reduce heat to low while meatballs roast.
Once roasted, remove meatballs to bacon-chard sauce and simmer for 10 mins. Serve over hot, buttered pasta topped with parm.