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Holiday Dining with The Meatball Shop’s Main Men

Owners Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow share the secret recipe for their “Deck the Balls” meatballs

It goes without saying that The Meatball Shop proprietors Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow know the secret to a killer meatball—but do they know how to throw a killer holiday party?

Turns out, they’re experts. “Whenever we invite friends over for dinner, we’re sure to have a great selection of cheese on the table for when they arrive,” says Chernow. “[My wife] Donna and I stick little flags in the cheese noting which of our go-to Clos du Bois wines to pair with, and our guests always find it to be a fun and thoughtful gesture.”

Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow

Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow

Chernow and Holzman also recommend setting the table with two wine glasses per guest, which gives their friends and family the opportunity to try different wines throughout the evening—and saves hosts the effort of washing glasses during the party. Another tried-and-true tip? Stemless wine glasses. “It’s a great way to tone down a dinner party, especially if you have some fancy goods to serve. Stemless suggests a casual environment, and also allows for less casualties,” says Holzman.

But their most important ingredient to a successful party: delicious hors d’oeuvres. Below, Chernow and Holzman share three of their favorite recipes and wine pairings for each.

Deck the Balls Turkey Meatballs

Pairs with: Clos du Bois North Coast Chardonnay

Yield: 24 Golf-Ball Size Meatballs

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground turkey
2 cups croutons or stuffing cubes
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tsp salt
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 deg. F. Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Drizzle the olive oil into a large baking dish (9×13) making sure to evenly coat the entire surface, use your hand to help spread the oil. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball sized meatballs making sure to pack the meat firmly.

Place the balls into the oiled baking dish such that all of the meatballs are lined up evenly in rows and are touching each of their four neighbors in a grid. Roast until firm and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Allow the meatballs to cool for five minutes before removing from the tray.

 

Mortadella Meatballs

Pairs with: Clos du Bois North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

Yield: 24 Golf-Ball Size Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 3/4 pounds 80% lean ground beef
1/2 pound Mortadella, minced
1 small Carrot, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1Ž4 cup)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 deg. F. Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Drizzle the olive oil into a large baking dish (9×13) making sure to evenly coat the entire surface, use your hand to help spread the oil. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball sized meatballs making sure to pack the meat firmly.

Place the balls into the oiled baking dish such that all of the meatballs are lined up evenly in rows and are touching each of their four neighbors in a grid. Roast until firm and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Allow the meatballs to cool for five minutes before removing from the tray.

 

Gruyere and Portabella Biscuits

Pairs with: Clos du Bois North Coast Chardonnay

Yield: 6 4-inch biscuits

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tbsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 pound gruyere cheese, grated
3/4 cups whole milk, chilled
1 bunch chives, thinly sliced
6 oz Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1Ž2 inch pieces
1 egg yolk (thinned with 2 tbsp. of water to brush on biscuit tops)

Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until they are browned and all their liquid has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and the remaining 1Ž4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter cubes and pulse 5 to 8 times, until the butter is just incorporated and the mixture resembles little peas.

Transfer the dough to a bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix in the milk and two-thirds of the gruyere, the cooled mushrooms, and the scallions until just incorporated.

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and form each into a loosely packed ball. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between each biscuit.

Brush each biscuit with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining provolone over the tops. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

MORE:

NYC’s Best Christmas Eve Dinners
Bourbon Milk & Cookies Cocktail Recipe
The 10 Essential Holiday Spirits

 

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