As a young man who still cooks and eats like he’s in college, these meatballs were a big step for me, but they’re relatively simple to make for everyone else.
Now you might be wondering, what the hell is an Irish meatball? I can tell you it’s got nothing to do with boiling the meat, there’s no mutton involved, and it’ll actually taste good. I’ve dubbed them Irish Meatballs because I’m Irish and I guarantee “Irish Meatballs” caught your eye and has gotten you to read this far.
In terms of hardware, you’ll need oven access, a sheet pan, and a slow cooker. Along with making delicious and meaty orbs, this recipe also taught me what the broiler option is on the oven.
Slow Cooker Irish Meatballs
2 pounds ground beef
1½ tsp. minced garlic
1½ tsp. minced onion
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
⅔ cup Parmesan cheese
1½ tsp. By the Sea Salt
¼ tsp. pepper
28-oz. jar marinara sauce
28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
8-oz. can tomato sauce
shot of whiskey (optional)
You’ll begin by turning on the oven to preheat the broiler and covering a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Next up, mix and mash the ground beef, garlic, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. I chose By the Sea Salt not only because of its Island roots, but because jeez Louise papa cheese, is it good. I also love garlic, so I tend to be heavy-handed when adding that into the mix.
Make sure to mix well until everything is combined. Throw a little water in if it’s hard to mix everything; you’re going for a smooth mixture.
From there, shape the meat mixture into one-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Pop them in the broiler and broil them for 8-10 minutes or until browned. This is key for this recipe, because it gives the meatballs a bit of a kick-start while they cook in the slow cooker, and makes them all the more flavorful.
Once you’ve broiled your meatballs, toss them in the slow cooker with the marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. I’m not joking about the optional whiskey. Taking a shot for yourself can’t hurt, but also adding it to the slow cooker gives a unique sweet and smoky flavor.
Make sure to stir gently. Cover the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for 3 to 4 hours.
And that’s it. As far as serving, throw them on some pasta, eat with a side of garlic knots (or soda farl) and vegetables, or just eat them by themselves. A touch of parsley and Parmesan cheese on top always helps.