Meat Balls in Brown Gravy

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM

 

THE MEATBALLS
3 pounds lean ground chuck
1 cup finely diced onions
3/4 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup French bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons Frank Davis Beef Seasoning
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


THE NEW ORLEANS GRAVY

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced bell pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup minced parsley
4 whole, dried bay leaves
4-6 cups chicken broth, as desired
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet as desired
2 tablespoons Frank Davis Beef Seasoning
1 can Hot Rotel Tomatoes with green chilies, minced
3 pounds “B” size creamer potatoes (new potatoes)
Canned and drained mixed corn and baby limas
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions for garnish
       

 

First, take a large mixing bowl and put the meat and all the meatball ingredients into it. 

Then work everything together with your hands—a spoon won’t give you the blending consistency you’ll need to get a uniform mix. 

Ideally, you want to take your time and create a texture that’s pliable—not dry, yet not too wet either. 

Actually, when you can pick out a wad of meat and easily roll it into a “boulet” a little larger than a ping-pong ball without it sticking to your hands. . .you got it right.

When all the meatballs have been formed, place them side by side without touching onto a shallow cookie sheet that‘s been coated with a non-stick spray (or lined with a piece of parchment pape) and slide them into a preheated 450 degree oven to brown. 

This should take about 12-15 minutes.  Just don’t overcook them. 

Alternative Method: If you’d prefer not to bake them you can place the meatballs, a few at a time, into a hot 12-inch non-stick pan and fry them on top of the stove, rolling them around and around as they sear, until they turn a toasty brown color. Again, though, do not overcook them!

In the meantime, using a 5-quart Dutch oven heat the vegetable oil to high, but don’t let it smoke. 

Then a little at a time sprinkle in the flour and, with a wire whip, cook the blend over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until you form a smooth dark roux. 

When the mixture reaches the color you want remove the pot from the burner and whisk in the seasoning vegetables—onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley—to flavor it and cool it down.

At this point, over a medium high heat, begin adding the chicken broth to the roux to form a gravy, whisking it in thoroughly to get the consistency you desire (you may or may not want to add all of the broth). 

This is also the time when you drop in the bay leaves. 

One word of caution here: if you pour the broth into the pot before the roux has had a chance to cool down, it could splatter and burn you seriously.

Now finish up the gravy by whisking in the Kitchen Bouquet, the beef seasoning, and the Rotel tomatoes (including the liquid they came packed in). 

Next, remove the browned meatballs from the oven (or the fry pan) and with tongs submerge them into the gravy. 

Take care to leave in the pan the excess fat that renders out during the browning stage—you don’t want that in your gravy

Then reduce the heat under the Dutch oven to low, tightly cover the pot, and simmer the meatballs for about an hour or so. 

This gives the various flavors a chance to marry and serves to tenderize the meat further.

Finally, when they’re done, skim off what little oil floats to the surface during the simmer and serve them piping hot next to a heapin’ helpin’ of fork-tender, chopped new potatoes and a side of your buttered mixed veggies. 

Top off the presentation by garnishing each plate with a sprinkling of sliced green onions at service.
==========

Chef Notes:
 

Now don’t go t’ stirrin’ the gravy once you put the meatballs in it!  You’ll break them all up and your dish will resemble a “messy chili.”  Just let them simmer! They’ll be okay!

Because you don’t want greasy gravy, I suggest you don’t use regular ground meat in this recipe. 

Lean ground chuck, ground round, or ground sirloin are your ultimate choices.

But regardless of what kinds of ground meat you use, there will be some oil floating on the gravy once the dish is cooked. 

To adequately de-fat it, skim off the excess with a spoon. 

To completely de-fat it, refrigerate the meatballs and gravy for several hours then lift off the solidified fat when it floats to the surface.

It’s the milk that produces a light and tender meatball. 

Add as much to the meat mixture as you need (a little at a time) to get a pliable texture that holds the meat and bread crumbs together.

Because canned chicken broth contains some salt, I recommend you allow the meatballs to cook about three-quarters of the way done before adding any extra salt to the gravy.

Now don’t labor over how to fix the mixed veggies.  You simply buy a can of whole kernel corn and a can of baby lima beans (and maybe even a can of diced carrots and a bottle of sliced mushrooms). 

Then you drain each item of its packing liquid, pour everything into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper (or a little Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning), and top with several pats of butter. 

All that’s left is to heat the mixture either on top the stove in a skillet or in the microwave in a glass bowl and serve it hot along with the meatballs and potatoes.

For the New Potatoes:

To prepare the “new potatoes,” wash them thoroughly under cool running water then boil them in a pot of water until just fork tender (still a slight bit firm). 

When they’re cool enough to handle, peel them with a small paring knife by gently scraping the skin. 

When they’ve all been peeled, place them into a very large bowl, liberally drizzle them with lots of melted butter, salt and pepper them (or my Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice), and toss them over and over and over again in the bowl until each and every potato has been seasoned evenly. 

At this point, all you do is transfer them to a large sheet pan, arrange them in a single layer, and slide them onto the top rack of a 450-degree oven for about a half hour or until a golden crust begins to form on each of the spuds.  

I suggest you serve them chopped into pieces alongside the meatballs, slathered in the brown gravy. 

 

Print
Email
|