I love cooking, but I love my crockpot *almost* as much! I have to admit I’m recent convert to the slow cooker camp. For many years I refused to buy one because of fears of leaving an appliance in the house unattended for many hours. A couple of Christmas ago while doing some shopping, I saw a slow cooker for sale and bought one on a whim.
The first time I used it, I left it running overnight and the delicious smell of the dish cooking woke us up at 2:00 AM!
One thing I noticed when started cooking using a crockpot is that the liquid does not evaporate, so you might end up with a watery dish. This is easily remedied, just try to use less liquid than the recipe calls for or add a bit of cornstarch to help thickening the sauce.
Whenever possible, I try to use organic and grass-fed beef. The taste and health benefits of organic meats are vastly superior when compared to regular meat.
The easiest way to make the meatballs is to use your hands to roll a chunk of the ground beef about an inch diameter. Make sure to lightly oil your hands, to avoid the meat mixture sticking to your skin.
If you don’t have access to a crockpot, you can also make this dish by using your stove or oven. If using a stove, place the meatballs and the sauce in a cooking pot and simmer in medium-low for one hour. If using the oven, use a baking dish and bake it at 375F for about an hour or until done.
You can serve this dish as an appetizer or as a main dish combined with your favourite pasta or salad.
- 3 lbs. ground beef
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion or a few shallots
- 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- 3 eggs
- 3 tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1 can of ground tomato (800 ml or 28 oz)
- ¼ cup olive oil or unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tsp. ground mustard
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ cup capers, optional
- Combine all the meatballs ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Place all the sauce ingredients in the crockpot and mix well.
- Using your hands, make meatballs about an inch diameter and place them directly into the crockpot. Make sure to lightly oil your hands, to avoid the meat mixture sticking to your skin.
- Set the crockpot to low and cook for 6-8 hours, if you are going to leave it unattended. If you are going to be home, set the crockpot to high heat for 2 hours and then cook in low heat for another 2 hours. In either case, make sure to stir the meatballs at least once to prevent them from sticking together.
- Add extra salt and pepper if needed for the final taste.