Many years ago, I owned a catering company, Silver Sage Caterers, with my buddy, Greg Cornell. I’ve since moved on to other, less demanding pursuits, but Greg’s still cranking out some of the best chow in northern California.
As any caterer knows, when preparing food for large groups, most of the grunt work has to be done well in advance. Large quantities of food are often produced in assembly-line fashion. Making 100 meatballs goes much faster with three people than with just one.
Suppose you have a big inventory of ground venison on hand. Or maybe you and your friends can combine their stock on hand to make a big pile of venison. That’s when I’ll throw out the idea that we join forces and produce enough tasty venison meatballs to have a big feed.
And then again, you might just want to make the kitchen mess now and freeze the cooked meatballs in batches for future appetizers, or perhaps smothered in marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Meatballs for the Masses
- 3 pounds ground venison
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ¾ pound ground pork
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1½ tbsp dried basil
- 1½ tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1½ 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 3 cups Japanese panko breadcrumbs
- pan spray
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except breadcrumbs. Mix well (you're just going to have to use your hands). Add ¾ cup of the breadcrumbs, and mix well. Note: Make sure that the spinach is thoroughly drained. I press it between paper towels.
- Divide the meatball mixture into 4 equal portions. Divide each portion in half. Form 6 equal-sized balls out of each of the 8 portions. Make sure to press the balls together firmly. Roll each ball in remaining breadcrumbs, and place on a lightly oiled baking pan. Spray meatballs lightly with pan spray, and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until browned on the outside and just-cooked in the center.