Ground Beef

Italian Meatballs

I buy my pasta sauce at the grocery. It's good stuff and avoids the necessity of hours in making the sauce. I like the brands that have an italian momma on the label.

Modified from the original recipe found on


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated locatelli cheese; hold back some for garnish.


  • Whip eggs in a large bowl. Add beef to whipped eggs and incorporate by hand.
  • Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl then add to bowl with eggs and beef in stages to get a consistent distribution in the meat.
  • Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball. (wet your hands to prevent the meat from sticking to them while rolling the meat balls).
  • Drop raw meatballs into large (I use a stock pot) pot of sauce.
  • OPTIONAL - Move oven rack to middle slot and place meatballs on a sheet pan and broil in the oven for 10 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
  • Simmer meatballs in sauce for about 3 hours.
  • Serve hot and sprinkle with the cheese you hopefully remembered to hold back.

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Greek Meatballs

From soon-to-be-new-dad John Henry Boudreaux (a.k.a. Baby Boy):

For those of you who don't know, my wife is pregnant with our first child! All very exciting. But there is something I am quickly realizing as the non-pregnant person in this relationship - WE ARE SUPERFLUOUS! It's amazing one of us is literally growing a person and for the other it is Tuesday. 
That separation between import of roles is dramatic and so I do the one thing I can do - COOK! My lady loves dishes that keep it simple. Steak should taste like steak, fish fish, asparagus asparagus. In general, I agree, but when cooking 3 meals a day, every day you want some variety. What's the solution? Meatballs!
Meatballs are a cook's laboratory where one can celebrate the meat while still adding some dynamic flavors and profiles. From the rich, garlicky ball that loves a marinara sauce to the light, airy one that floats in a miso soup, the meatball is delicious, diverse, and deserving of our attention. Think about meatballs when burgers feel played out or you have some left over pork or beef ground.


  • 1 part ground JVF pork
  • 1 part ground JVF beef (or just one or the other)
  • BIG glop of full fat, greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped scallion
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped or minced (best if you sweat them in olive oil before adding but not necessary)
  • Salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Big scoop of panko* I use panko for this rather than bread crumbs as it lightens the density and adds some nice flavor


  1. Combine all ingredients. Make into golf ball sized balls.
  2. Heat olive oil in iron skillet (Go buy a cast iron skillet, pan and dutch oven if you don't own one. This isn't merely a suggestion - these are cheap, they take a whipping, and they last a lifetime+. Mom and Dad are still using a skillet from Mom's grandmother's boarding house).
  3. Sear and crust one side of the ball.
  4. Rotate ball 180 degrees and immediately place in 400 degree oven, reduce to 350 degrees, to finish (about 15 min.)
  5. Let sit for 10 minutes. 
  6. Serve

These delectable discoids go great dipped in Tzatziki sauce, placed on top of couscous, or made into a Gyro with kalamata olives and hummus. Try them out and let us know what works and what doesn't. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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John Henry Boudreaux’s Best Burger Ever

  1. Take about 2 oz. of beef and form very thinly; salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the heat up high. When the pan is about to scream paint it with butter and add minced garlic.
  3. Cook 40 sec. each side and then turn off and cover for about 30 sec. This will give you a med. cook.
  4. Toast an English muffin with sharp cheddar add mustard and red onion. Eat.

Best. Burger. Ever!

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Meaty Minestrone Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

For the soup:

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork from JVF
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 bushy sprigs thyme
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash (or half of each for color), diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 pound fresh shell beans, shelled (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), diced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

For the pistou:

  • 4 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the beef or pork and sauté until cooked. Remove the meat and set aside. Tie rosemary, thyme and parsley in a bundle with kitchen string if desired (this makes it easier to fish out later). Add the herbs, leeks, garlic, zucchini or yellow squash, carrot, salt and pepper to the pot and sauté until the vegetables are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add broth, shell beans, tomatoes, green beans and 4 cups water to the pot. Simmer partly covered until the beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Discard herbs, add the meat back into the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes. Thin with a little water if the soup is too thick.
  3. Prepare the pistou: Pulse the basil, almonds, tomato, Parmesan, garlic and salt in a food processor until basil is chopped and all the ingredients are combined. Drizzle in olive oil while the motor runs and continue processing until a paste forms. Serve the soup with dollops of the pistou, letting people add more as needed.

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Beef Broccoli & Potato Soup


  • 4 T. Olive oil
  • 2 T. Butter, if using cubed beef, ½ of that if ground beef
  • ½ lb. or more, ground or cubed beef, depending on how beefy you want it
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup cubed potato
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups beef broth  


Salt and pepper the beef, set aside.

Saute the onion, garlic, celery (the “holy trinity”) and potato in oil and butter. When softened, remove vegetables.

Saute the beef until browned. Dust the beef with whole wheat flour.

Add sauteed vegetables back to the mix and allow to simmer: if ground beef, 30 minutes, if cubed, 1 hour.

Add broccoli florets in last 15 minutes of cooking. Adjust times depending on tenderness of beef, broccoli and potatoes.

This will serve 2 heartily. Double the recipe if for 4 or 5. Serve with crusty rolls and a Rose’ wine.

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Nishta’s Porky Asian Meatballs

Serves 4


  • 1 pound ground pork (or beef)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine, mirin, or sake
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 large eggs, beaten (2 if you want firmer meatballs)
  • ¼ cup green bean starch (if unavailable, cornstarch will work just fine)
  • 1 pound bok choy, stems trimmed but otherwise intact


Combine everything but the eggs, starch, and bok choy together in a large bowl and mash vigorously until well-blended. I just use my hands.

Add the starch and mix with a fork (I withdraw the hands-on approach at this point because the starch makes it quite sticky). Beat the eggs and add, mixing again to incorporate. The mixture will seem extremely liquid at first -- just continue to mix and the egg will gradually absorb into the pork, leaving a thick porridge-like mixture. If you want rounder and firmer meatballs that you can shape with your hands, use two eggs instead of three. I thought this yielded meatballs that were lovely and tender, so I used three.

Pour about 1/4 cup of oil into a large wok, or enough to coat the bottom with about 1/2 inch of oil. Turn the heat to medium and give the oil a few minutes to warm up. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup or a large ice cream scoop, drop balls of the pork mixture into the wok in a single layer. Let sizzle in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, then flip and cook the other side. Once the meatball is browned on both sides (it doesn't have to be cooked through), remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You will likely have to fry in two batches.

Once all the meatballs are browned, line the bottom of a large pot with the bok choy leaves. Place the meatballs on top and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover and let steam for 30 to 40 minutes, or until bok choy leaves have wilted and the stems are tender. Serve with rice!

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Bean Pot

In your bean pot, add enough olive oil and butter to keep things from sticking. Brown your meat, be that ground pork or beef, or any of our sausages cut into slices. Remove meats when cooked, and add a mirepoix (see our cooking book if that term is strange to you). I suggest diced onion, celery and bell pepper. Fresh jalapeno if you like a little fire. When the vegetables are softened, add beans or peas and stock or water. Cook at slow simmer until beans are softened. Season as you go until your liking. Pop it further with some Tabasco if you like. Enjoy as a 1 piece meal. Make a lot and cover more than one dinner. Delicious and nutritious. While it is “Carby”, these are all complex carbs so much better than pasta, white rice or other processed carbs.

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BBQ Burgers

Simple recipe of the month from JVF subscriber, Lea Harkrider.

Lea says she has her children begging for more with this simple recipe. In a pound of ground pork, mix a quarter cup of your favorite BBQ sauce and some ground pepper and fry them up for burgers or chopped steaks. Even better if served with caramelized onions and Jolie Vue bacon.  Way to go, Lea. Sounds like a winner to us.

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