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Old 12-14-2005, 02:46 AM   #1
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Need help with techniques for making a large amount of food

i will be cooking for 60+ tonight. that is, i am in charge of catering my dept.'s holiday party on thursday. i have ordered a few trays (chicken francese, veal marsala, baked ziti, pasta primavera; each serves about 25) from a restaurant across the street from my building, but i have been threatened that if i don't make my pot o' sausages and meatballs in pepper/onion/tomato sauce, i shouldn't show up.
now, my dilemma is that i've never made so many meatballs before, and in order to make so much, i will need to use my lobster pot, as well as an 8 qt. stock pot. i have 12 lbs. of hot and sweet sausage that will be browned and added to the sauce, but i will need to turn 7 lbs of ground beef, a dozen eggs, a large container of breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano, milk, and a hunk of grated parmesan into as many meatballs as possible.
what is the best way to combine all of these ingredients so that all of the meatballs will be uniform? not some with lots of herbs, others with lots of cheese. i don't want to do it all in one big bowl to avoid that problem, and also, i don't want to overwork the meat so that they will come out tender.
i was thinking that i should divide the meat and the other ingredients into thirds, and make the meatballs from each portion seperately. unfortunately, i usually make only a pound of meat at a time, and i've always eyed the amounts of each ingredient, going by the "feel" of the combined product to be able tell what it needs (more breadcrumbs, more milk, etc.), so my measurements may be off.
another problem is how to make 2 seperate pots of sauce identical, when i've never measured anything that went into them in the past. should i try to mix/blend them, or is that inviting disaster?
do you have any tips that might help?
TIA.

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Old 12-14-2005, 04:43 AM   #2
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Can't you just measure your ingredients into thirds and make them all up the same? I'd use a scoop the size I want the meat balls to be so they would be uniform. Good luck with your huge undertaking. I hope they appreciate your hard work.
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Old 12-14-2005, 07:54 AM   #3
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I'd just make multiple batches of the size you are used to and putting each batch as you make it in a larger bowl, unless you will be lucky enough to have an assistant who can use a scoop to measure and shape as you go and depositing the meatballs where they need to go to continue with the recipe. Then you can keep swapping the bowls back and forth. Good luck.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:19 AM   #4
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Hi BT. This is more for the method, as you will be using your own ingreds. For the meatballs, this method makes sense re incorprating the ingreds (crumbling the meat over the crumbs and spices) and baking them in four pans. Maybe you could sprinkle the crumbs in a horizontal line on waxed paper on the counter, then crumbled the meat over it and roll like a log. Then break off each piece and roll into little balls.

Tangy Meatballs
Taste of Home Magazine

2 cups cubed rye bread
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 env. onion soup mix
2 tsp. salt
1½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
5 pounds ground beef
2 pounds bulk pork sausage
1 bottle (40 oz.) ketchup
2 cups crab apple or apple jelly, melted
4 tsp. browning sauce, optional

Combine the bread cubes and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the next six ingredients; mix well.

Crumble meat into bread mixture; stir just until blended. Form into 1½-inch balls.

Place in four ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes; drain. Combine ketchup, jelly and browning sauce if desired; spoon over meatballs. Reduce heat to 300°; cover and bake for 1 hour.

Yield: 7 to 7½ dozen

P.S. I wouldn't 'stir', but use my hands to combine, and if you are using sauce, to spoon YOUR sauce over the meatballs. Another thought re the 4 pans -- maybe make them in the disposable tin pans (sold at the market), then you can just cover it with foil when it's done & transport it ALL in the same pans. No cleanup too - yippee.

P.P.S. A little time saving tip - I roll the combined meat mixture into a log shape, then when I break off the pieces & roll into balls, the size will be uniform as well. Just seems to go faster and smoother.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:23 AM   #5
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You might ask the restaurant you are getting the food from to borrow a square head or 4" inch chafing dish to mix your meatballs in, and a 5 gallon
sauce pot for your sauce. The meatballs and the sausage can both be cooked in the oven and then added to the sauce.
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:28 AM   #6
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It's me again. Didn't want to lose the meatball post.

This one sounds like a good method for the sauce using a roaster. Again, you could probably adapt it using your own ingreds, herbs, spices etc. Maybe the ratio of liquid etc. might give you some ideas. See what you think.


Polish Sausage & Peppers

Cooks to perfection in an 18 quart roaster!

12 lbs. Polish Sausage cut in 3" pieces
20 large green peppers, seeded and sliced
8 lbs. onion, sliced
2-3 cans beer (sub. 7-Up or apple juice if desired with maybe a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar)

Put all above into a roaster. Stir occasionally. Cook at 250 - 300 degrees for most of the day (4-5 hours). Serve the sausage and peppers and onions on French bread.

Serves 50

P.S. Happy Party :-]
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Old 12-14-2005, 09:30 AM   #7
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Sorry Bucky, I don't have any advice but wanted to say Good Luck! I'm sure it will come out great!
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Old 12-14-2005, 11:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom
another problem is how to make 2 seperate pots of sauce identical, when i've never measured anything that went into them in the past. should i try to mix/blend them, or is that inviting disaster?
do you have any tips that might help?
TIA.
Do you have a 3rd big pot? You could just make two batches of sauce that seem about right, and then blend them together so that they're similar enough to get by.. (I have a couple that you can borrow if you come to Dearborn to get them...)

For the meatballs - I would just spilt up the ingredients into manageable size batches and make them. There may be a few differences here and there, but hey, this is home cooking!

John
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Old 12-14-2005, 11:38 AM   #9
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I might try making the sauce in batches and the meatballs.

And then serve the meatballs and sausages with the sauce separately.

Any difference in taste of the sauce will be attributed to the taste of the different meats.

Just an idea.
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:11 PM   #10
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thanks for the tips and suggestions everyone!

i will report on friday how everything went. tonight, i have to go get a coupla cases of wine and beer, then make everything for tomorrow. and i'm freakin exhausted after working 2 doubles (11p-4pm) already this week. i think i'll wear my superman shirt tonight...(i'm not allowed to wear the tights and boots anymore)
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