Frank's Down Da Bayou Cajun Meatballs

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS YOU NEED:

3 lbs. 86% lean ground chuck

1 cup finely diced onions

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper

3 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup finely minced parsley

3 whole eggs

3/4 cup coarse French bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 Tbsp. Frank Davis Beef Seasoning

1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

TO MAKE THE ROUX AND GRAVY YOU NEED:

1/3 cup high quality vegetable oil

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup finely diced onions

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper

3 cloves finely minced garlic

1/4 cup minced parsley

3 bay leaves

4-6 cups beef broth, as needed

1 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet

2 Tbsps. Frank Davis Beef Seasoning

1 can Hot Rotel Tomatoes with green chilies

6 cups cooked long grain rice

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

 

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

Then work everything together with your hands (trying to do this with a spoon just won’t give you the blended 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. 

When you can pick out a wad of meat and easily roll it out to ping-pong ball size without it sticking to your hands, then you got it right.

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

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

Meanwhile, using a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil to high, but don’t let it smoke. 

Then with a wire whip, whisk in the flour a little at a time and cook it 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 stir in your chopped seasoning vegetables—onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and parsley. 

This stepflavors the roux, cools it down, and stops it from browning any darker.

At this point, begin whisking the beef broth to the roux to form a gravy, stirring it in thoroughly to get the consistency you desire (you may or may not want to add all the broth just yet). 

This is also the time that you drop the bay leaves into the pot. 

Oh—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. So be extra careful here!

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

Next, remove the browned meatballs from the oven and with a pair of tongs submerge them into the gravy. 

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

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

This gives all the various flavors a chance to marry and tenderizes the meat.

When they’re done, simply skim off what little oil floats to the surface during the simmer and serve them piping hot over the steamed rice with a side of buttered mixed veggies, a garnish of sliced green onion, and a big ol’ chunk of French bread.

As they say down on da bayou. . . “Aaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeee!”

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Chef Notes:

Now do not stir the gravy once you put the meatballs in! You’ll break them all up and your dish will resemble a “messy, brownish sloppy Joe.” Just let them simmer—they’ll be fine!

Because you don’t want greasy gravy, I suggest you don’t ignore the fat percentage of the ground meat. 

Believe me, you don’t wand to use regular ground meat in this recipe. Personally, I prefer lean ground chuck or ground sirloin.

However, regardless of what kind 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 once it’s come to the surface.

Note that 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 breadcrumbs together.

To get a richer flavor in the gravy, if you’re not concerned about fat calories, use the meatball pan drippings instead of vegetable oil to make your roux.

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

The residual ingredients may provide enough sodium for your taste.

 

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