The Rich Ingredient You Should Use For Baked Meatballs

meatballs with sauce in pan
meatballs with sauce in pan - Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Meatballs are great to have on hand; these versatile little treats can be incorporated into a medley of recipes, from sandwiching between bread for a meatball sub to adding a little protein to a soup like Italian Wedding. Though often fried in a pan to get that crispy, browned exterior and a little extra flavor, you can also bake your meatballs. However, baked meatballs tend to come out dry if you don't carefully ensure enough moisture and fat content in the meat mix or if you let them bake too long.

Dryness is easy to combat if you have a little moisture, so tackle your next attempt at baked meatballs with a secret weapon: beef broth. Using beef broth to coat the bottom of your baking sheet will steam the balls, imparting moisture and ensuring they won't dry out while baking. The steam will circulate through the oven, keeping everything humid and tender as the meatballs cook.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

A Good Quality Broth Makes Better Meatballs

Hands forming meatballs on sheet
Hands forming meatballs on sheet - New Africa/Shutterstock

For this technique, choose some good quality beef broth, or use homemade beef stock if you have it. The broth doesn't just go in the pan but also into the meatball mix itself, so the more flavorful, the better.

Add just a quarter of a cup of the broth or stock to your meatball mixture, incorporating thoroughly. You can use any meatball recipe you have on hand; if you're planning to make meatballs with a different type of meat, such as chicken, this technique will still work. You might consider switching up the broth flavor to match your meat choice, such as pairing chicken or turkey broth with chicken meatballs.

Form the meatballs in the usual way, lining them up on a deep baking tray. Be sure to select a tray with higher sides so the liquid doesn't overflow. Then, pour ¾ cup of broth into the bottom of the tray, letting it pool around the meatballs. Some recommend covering the tray with foil to really seal in the moisture, but this is optional.

A Little Steam Does The Trick

Meatballs on a wooden platter
Meatballs on a wooden platter - Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock

The trick to this meatball-cooking method is all in the steam formed from the excess liquid — so in order to get that steam to accumulate quickly, the oven needs to be hot. 450 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature, and make sure the oven is fully preheated before sliding the tray in so the liquid will heat up quickly.

Be sure to open the oven as little as possible during cooking, which should only take about 25 minutes, give or take, based on your meatballs' size; the more you open the oven door, the more steam will escape. The oven's internal temperature also drops each time the door opens, so unless there's something you really need to check, exercise restraint and don't touch that door until the cooking time is nearly up.

When the meatballs are finished cooking, you can use that leftover broth to make a rich gravy; the liquid will be infused with rendered-off fat and juices, making a perfect base for a sauce.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.