This Surprising Ingredient Can Help You Make The Best Kind Of Meatballs

You'll be surprised at what this ingredient can do.

IMAGE Dairy Darilag

Have you ever eaten a dish that had soggy parts to it? It's not the best tasting nor the most pleasant experience in your mouth. However, there is a use for soggy ingredients, and would you believe it's in a meatball recipe? 

When it comes to meatballs, how soft and easy to eat a meatball isn't always the first thing you notice when biting into one. In fact, many may not even care what the meatball is like because flavor or what it tastes like is their topmost concern

The meatball can be the most delicious ingredient in your dish, and yet, fall flat because it's been cooked to within an inch of being tough, and dry.  

We have a solution to dry, tough meatballs and you may be surprised with this ingredient. You may encounter a version of this ingredient in many meatball recipes as well as meatloaf or embutido recipes, but there is never any explanation about why it is added: breadcrumbs. 

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Many people automatically assume breadcrumbs are an extender, to make the meatloaf or the meatball taste meatier and feel more heavy and filling when you eat it without adding more meat into the recipe. These people would probably be surprised that there is a legitimate reason as to why breadcrumbs or any bread are added to ground meat mixtures. 

This is why: it makes meatballs extra tender.

Do these meatballs look soft and tender? You can't tell until you bite into one!
Photo by Dairy Darilag
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This is where breadcrumbs come in or in the case of some of the most tender and flavorful meatball recipes, a soggy slice of bread. You see, the dry breadcrumbs you might commonly see in ground meat recipes are there to help absorb any liquids that might not bind with the rest of the ingredients, either as its mixed or as it cooks. It acts as a buffer and since dry breadcrumbs are usually what is used, the dryness is what helps retain the moisture of the meatloaf or meatball. 

What you end up with is a moist, juicy, meaty slice of embutido or ball of meat. There are other ways to help keep these dishes juicy but this is one of the least expensive ways to do it. However, not everyone has a bag of breadcrumbs waiting to be used in dishes. Many Pinoy households, however, do have some form of bread or even crackers in their home at any given time, especially if the pandesal is one of their favorite breakfast meals.

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This is where the soggy slice of bread comes in, as the substitute for the breadcrumbs that not everyone may have or have the inclination to make at home. (Yes! You can easily make breadcrumbs at home!) 

Since more households will have some form of bread at home, whether it's a pandesal, sandwich bread slices, or even crusty country-style bread, you can easily use these in place of breadcrumbs for your recipe. 

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Here's what you do: 

  1. 1 Tear the equivalent of about 3 slices sandwich bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.
  1. 2 Pour in 1 cup fresh milk and let soak for 5 minutes, before squeezing out any excess milk.

Once you have this mixture, add it to your meatball or meatloaf mixture and stir in thoroughly. You'll instantly notice the difference when you take a bite into one of these soggy bread meat recipes. 

Care to try the technique out? Here are a few recipes you can cook: 

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