White Wine Meatball To The Rescue

White Wine Meatball To The Rescue


Oh dear. Oh dear. Gather up guys, because do I have a funny story for ya. (Am I gonna tell you how my old layout dumped me on a post-it?)… No, I don’t want to talk about that asshole. (Awww, meatball’s going to tell us how you and him first met!)… NO! This isn’t Hallmark either. If we haven’t been properly introduced, this is more of a place… where my enthusiasm goes to die after too much saturated reality has popped its arteries (see my angry new banner?). But HEY! Back to that story…


So imagine this, a few nights ago (well, it was more like 4:30 am) when I was about to drift away into sweet dreams of a blue-sky day in Beijing, a nerve-wrecking sound instantly popped my eyes wide open. “Beep beep beep…” going on and on in the darkness. What the H… wait, what is tha… is that the SMOKE DETECTOR in the kitchen?! People! Smoke detector going off in the middle of the night! It’s time to get freaked out! But instead, I turned and poked the man of the house like how you would to a suspiciously dead-looking body, “hey… the smoke alarm is going off…” (zzzz……). Al’right… So I got up and tip-toed nervously to open the bedroom door and stuck my neck out for a peak, very cautiously… (you know, just in case it was a burglar or something…)(then again why would a burglar set off the smoke alarm to give us a heads-up…)(Yes, my mind went from smoke detector to burglar… beats me, too). I suppose my disoriented state of mind might have also been caused by the fact that we have recently had a brand new security system fitted in our apartment. There have been a few break-ins in our area over the past year and so we decided that it was time to make our apartment as burglar proof as possible. Besides, taking measures to boost your home security is always a good idea!


It didn’t even take me seconds to realize what was causing all this midnight excitement. Fire? No, but the entire living room was permeated with a thick stench of plastic ~FUME~. If you don’t know what that smells like, throw a trash bag on an open flame and take a deep sniff… I’m kidding, guys. Do that after I’m done with the story. It’s me time. Anyway, I’m forever glad that the restaurant next door got some of the leading fire door installers after a small fire incident. Because this is how we got fire safety conscious and got our own home smoke alarm system. The anxiety is real guys! So by then Jason had finally arisen from the dead sleep and did what husbands do best, took a manly patrol of the apartment, decisively moved the air purifier into the bedroom, took a wee-wee, kissed me on the forehead and… zzz. It took him so long to wake up, imagine if there was someone in the apartment! However, I can’t blame him, there’s nothing worse than being interrupted during a good sleep. One of our friends recently told us to change our mattress, and since then we have been having better nights of sleep. My friend told us about this Sleepify review and told us to have a read. Also, I forgot to mention that besides changing our mattress, we were also recommended by those in the know to practice yoga. We had been told that yoga can actually improve sleep by calming the mind and reviving the body. That is why we were eager to look for licensed yoga trainers (someone who might have acquired an online yoga teacher training certificate from reputed yoga schools). Well, we did try our best to find someone of the highest caliber, and guess what? Since then, my husband has been an incredibly heavy sleeper. Anyway, coming back to the main story, when he finally got up, he didn’t do too much, but he did check on me. Although I was secretly screaming “HELP MEH~~” inside, I had no choice but to force myself back to sleep with literally breath that was abated…


If I were in any other sensible country with sensible citizens, I’d dig to the bottom of this when I wake up right? But if I learnt anything about living in Beijing it’s that the road to emotional hell (the hair-plucking kind) is paved with sensible questions. I felt cornered. This was no doubt a situation that called for my EMERGENCY comfort-food, my secret stash – GIANT meatballs braised in white wine. Yes, white. Not red and it’s nothing short of a God (disguised as Mario Batali)-sent recipe to ease all thy suffering souls. Thanks to a very foreseeing reader (Laura hi!) whom I now know was an angel passing by, asked me what my favorite winter recipe was and thus I had it in mind on my last trip to the market. Because let’s just say a taxi ride at this point wouldn’t do constructive things to my mental health either. That night, Jason and I had our wounded souls (and respiratory system) properly pampered with this insanely nourishing dinner. As the meatballs melted in my mouth, I could hear my own thoughts saying “Oh, this is good…” (Why the hell am I doing in this piece of s…) “Mmmm boy, this is REALLY goooood…” (Damn it, I swear to God if we didn’t move by…) “HOLY MOLLY I should make this more often!” (Argh… thzz place sucks…) “YUMMM! I want another one!” (Tsst…err… mmmm).


* For the curious few: a few days later I finally found out that the plastic ~FUME~ came from the new (the “VERY health-standard approved” kind that would set off a smoke detector) paint they applied to the mechanical-room down in the basement. And to help it “disperse quickly” (as delivered in a very proud and “wasn’t it clever” kinda tone), they decided to blow it through the air-circulation system into the entire building… Sheer genius….

Servings: 4 dinner servings/ 8 lunch servings

You won’t believe how great this is. It was a dish I had in Lupa in the West Village many years ago and have made it numerous times throughout the years. The recipe (which was referrenced from Babbo’s old online recipe archive) calls for diced prosciutto fat that they accumulate in the restaurant from trimming the prosciutto. It gives the meatballs another level of succulence and flavor. You could go to your local deli and ask for the trimmings that they normally discard anyways.

Ingredients: UPDATE: 2013/01/30: Thanks to a dear reader, I reaized I forgot to include 1 egg in the ingredient list!

  • Meatball mixture:
    • 500 g of ground beef (don’t use lean… a 75% would be ideal)
    • 500 g of ground pork (again… not lean… ground pork-butt would be ideal)
    • 400 g of ground chicken (I grounded 1 whole boneless chicken leg, skin-on)
    • 80 g of prosciutto fat, diced.
    • 1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano cheese
    • 1 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumb
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 onion, finely diced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 3 tbsp of corn starch
    • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp of ground white pepper
    • 5 tbsp of whole milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • To braise:
    • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
    • 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
    • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • 4 sprigs of thyme
    • 2 fresh or 4 dry bay leaves
    • 1 bottle of dry white wine
    • 2 cups of chicken stock
    • 2″ x 2 ” of Parmigiano cheese rind
  • To finish:
    • 2 large leeks or spring garlic, sliced into thin strips
    • 1 tsp of butter
    • 3~4 drops of white wine vinegar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 loaf of baguette or crusty bread

Preheat the oven on 500ºF/230ºC.

Chop the onion and garlic in a food processor until very fine (or by hand but… wear a goggle). Dice the prosciutto fat into 1/8″ (3mm) cubes (freezing the fat in the freezer until hard would make this much easier). In a big bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken, prosciutto fat, Parmigiano cheese, panko breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, corn starch, black pepper, white pepper, milk and salt until evenly mixed. The best way to do this is by hand. Form the mixture into 8 giant mealballs, or 10 smaller meatballs. “Toss” the meatballs back and forth in between two hands to firm it up as it pushes out the air inside the mixture.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly space the meatballs on the sheet. Bake in the oven until nicely browned on all sides, approx 20~25 min.

In another large dutch oven (or I’m using pressure cooker), saute the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme and bay leaves in 1 tbsp of oil for 5 min. It doesn’t matter what shapes and sizes these vegetables are because I strain them out at the end. Once the meatballs are done browning in the oven, transfer them carefully with into the pot. Add the white wine and chicken, and 1 piece of Parmigiano cheese rind (I always keep mine in the freezer from used up Parmigiano). Season it with salt and pepper (don’t over do it because the stock will reduce and become saltier).

Reduce the oven temperature down to 320ºF/160ºC. Cover the pot and bake in the oven for 2 hours (or it will only take 45 min in a pressure cooker). You may need to CAREFULLY move the meatballs from time to time to prevent sticking.

Once done, I like to move the meatballs to a serving dish and strain the cooking liquid. This is when I skim off a little bit of excess fat on the top, and re-season it with maybe more salt or black pepper.

I like to saute some leeks in butter with some white wine vinegar and salt’n pepper to go with it, but it is totally optional.

Serve the meatballs with toasted baguette, or rustic bread. You would want to have left-overs of this because it just gets better the next day, which would be hard to believe when you take the first bite. But it does…


  • Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    January 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM Reply

    Holy shit. . this looks so good. I am making this. Like this week.

  • Tora

    January 29, 2013 at 11:25 PM Reply

    Everything looks so delicious…………………


    Thank you for sharing this scrumptious-looking recipe, they look all juicy and savoury! NOM!

  • Jaxx

    January 30, 2013 at 4:22 AM Reply

    Omg this looks amazing! Will try it soon! :-)

  • Carmen

    January 30, 2013 at 6:32 AM Reply

    I have a question, i see two eggs in the pictures but not in the recipe, does it need the eggs?.

    • Mandy L.

      January 30, 2013 at 3:02 PM Reply

      Carmen, OMG THANK YOU! Yes, there is 1 large egg in the mix. It looked like 2 because the egg yolk broke. I have corrected this on the ingredient list. thanks so much!

  • charlie

    September 11, 2013 at 2:14 AM Reply

    somebody had lots of time on their hands:-(

  • Dialen

    April 21, 2014 at 5:15 AM Reply

    Thanks for this recipe! Made this over the weekend and got a hug and compliment from my mother… Not joking. Everyone loved this dish and I even got a request to make it for a friends’ homewarming party!

  • Ursula

    April 29, 2014 at 7:38 AM Reply

    I made these yesterday. Initially, my husband was supportive but not too enthusiastic, until, until…he started eating. Then there was the joyful sound of appreciative moaning and then basic worshiping of the cook ensued…I think I will make this again!

  • Samantha

    February 26, 2015 at 11:12 PM Reply

    I am wondering if and how I could freeze these beauties? It is quite the project for me to round up all the ingredients where I live and I know that I’m going to want to have them again…and again. I am thinking of freezing after baking and then braising as I eat them. What do you think? I don’t want to ruin this masterpiece!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 26, 2015 at 11:49 PM Reply

      Samantha, I think that could work! Yeah! My mom does it. You can brown them in the oven, then freeze, then when you’re reading to cook them, you can continue with the rest of the recipe. let me know how it works out!

  • Angela

    July 21, 2015 at 6:44 AM Reply

    I’ve got 20 people coming for my pork fiesta next weekend and wanted to do these. i wanted to know if I could cook them the night before, leaving them in their juices overnight and then reheat the next day for the lunchtime fiesta? It won’t dry them out will it? Thx

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 21, 2015 at 1:16 PM Reply

      Angela, overnight is even better! Just make sure that when you’re reheating, do it over low heat (lid on) so the bottom doesn’t burn. Have fun!

  • Jenny

    October 20, 2016 at 6:35 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy, I’m wondering if the broth is supposed to be very sour from the white wine? The wine is very potent tasting….I didn’t even put a whole bottle since I didnt use as much meat as you indicated in the recipe.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 20, 2016 at 12:08 PM Reply

      Hi Jenny, it will embody some tartness from the white wine. Did you use a less fruity/dry white wine?

  • Oko

    February 6, 2017 at 9:38 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy, I’m trying to make this recipe right now and had a question about the temperature. Should the meatballs be browned at 500F or another temperature? I wasn’t sure because 230C doesn’t equal to 500F like in your recipe. Thank you!!

  • Mari

    July 14, 2017 at 6:21 PM Reply

    I just wanted to comment, I found these a while ago on Pinterest and make them often! They are amazingly delicious! There were some things I had to sub (I can’t get prosciutto fat here) and I usually go with a pound each of beef/pork/chicken (or sometimes turkey if I can’t find ground chicken) and they are delicious every time! I like to add a little extra wine so we can eat them over noodles – two 500ml bottles of pinot grigiot is perfect! I can’t thank you enough for these… especially since they’re in the oven now!

Post a Comment