Sunday, October 28, 2012

Meatballs and Mushroom Gravy

Jamie Beecham makes great gravy. Correction, Jamie Beecham makes the very best gravy I've ever tasted. I've been waiting to get a good enough picture to post her recipe and I'm still not happy with what I have, but this dish is absolutely to die for- good picture or not. Growing up in the north, I'd never been exposed to the gravy experience. But my friends down south are on this gravy train and know what they're doing. Jamie usually makes hers to complement pork chops or Salisbury steak. Tonight I decided to make some meatballs and let them dance around in her unbelievable sauce. If you're making meatballs, you'll get about 20 1-1/2 inch balls. If you want the Salisbury steaks, you'll get 4 hearty portions.

Green Pepper Meatballs or Salisbury Steak
1 large egg
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 T Worscestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 small green pepper diced
1 tsp salt
lots of black pepper (about 3/4 tsp)
1 pound ground beef

2 T olive oil
1 tsp fresh garlic grated or chopped
1 small onion thinly sliced
8 oz mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup dry red wine- I used an inexpensive cabernet
3 or 4 T flour
1/2 cup half and half- Jamie uses heavy cream, but I never have that on hand
2 cups low sodium beef broth- I've used chicken stock too, it works fine
1 tsp salt
black pepper

Whether you're making the meatballs or Salisbury steak you'll make the same mixture. In medium size bowl combine all ingredients except the ground beef. Mix with a fork until incorporated.

Now add the ground beef and mix gently with your fingers. The less you handle the meat, the more tender your meatballs or steaks will be. I formed the beef mixture into meatballs and placed on a foil lined baking sheet that was sprayed with PAM.

Place meatballs in pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake 20 minutes. While meatballs are cooking make the gravy. In large skillet on medium low heat add olive oil, then the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes and season with salt and pepper.

After about 5 minutes add the wine and cook another 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and cook until vegetable mixture forms a paste.

Add cream or half and half and stir. Pour in the beef stock and stir until thick. Do this over medium low heat. Add the meatballs or steaks back into the gravy and warm. You'll want to cook the gravy about 20-25 minutes.

Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice or a crusty loaf of Italian bread. I will always choose that crusty loaf of bread, because that gravy needs a good sopper-upper. And in my mind, bread does the trick! Jamie Beecham, you are a rock star!

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