Meatballs, or is it Meatloaf Balls and Brown Gravy

Meatballs or Meatloaf Balls over Mashed Potatoes
I have been dieting recently, trying to shed the excess Winter hibernation insulation, but I am the only one in the family doing so. My mother in law is very happy to eat salads along with me, and wifey takes one every day for lunch anyway, but there is a flock of wild carb loving carnivores in the house too! The following is a twist on the old favorite meatloaf and gravy, inspired by the fine weekend breakfast buffet at the Wolf Rock's Country Kitchen in Exeter, RI!

For the Meatballs....

1 1/4 lb Ground Beef -I used 86/14 Black Angus that was on sale for these. YUM!
1 large Egg
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs - Seasoned Progresso here works great.
1/4 cup Milk - 1% is the house variety
1/2 tsp dry Thyme - I do my best to chop fine
1/2 tsp salt
Black Pepper to taste - I probably add about 1 tsp fresh ground

Meatballs or Meatloaf Balls ready for Brown Gravy
Pre-heat oven to 425. In a roomy mixing bowl, whisk egg, milk and seasoning together. Stir in bread crumb, should be a loose paste. I flake the meat in from the package using a fork. If you're a ground turkey fan or get the really lean hamburg, no worries, the milk is an old Betty Crocker tip to keep everything moist. I toss well with a fork to incorporate, but don't just mash everything & over work with you hands, can get tough.

I form about 14 golf ball sized meatballs from these amounts. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment or sprayed foil to avoid sticking. I am really loving the Reynolds paper that is parchment on one side, foil on the other, it's a dream to work with. Place on the center rack for about 12 minutes, flip with tongs and cook another 12 minutes. Your meatballs should be beautifully browned and fully cooked, 160 internal. I actually make a day ahead or even freeze double batches to have ready. The warm perfectly in the brown gravy.

For the Brown Gravy...

1 qt (32 oz, 4cups depending on labeling) low sodium beef stock
1/2 medium Onion finely diced - about a 1/4 cup
1 Celery Stalk - finely diced
4 - 5 tbsp All Purpose Flour - 4 for thinner brown gravy, five for thicker
3 tbsp Butter - unsalted
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Gravy Master (a must for Super Gravy taste, in the market near gravy packets)
1/2 tsp dry Thyme -chopped fine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Meatballs or Meatloaf Balls Simmering in Brown Gravy
Saute onion and celery in the olive oil and butter over medium low heat. Season here with salt and pepper. 5-10 minutes is adequate, but the longer you saute on low, the less sharp the onion flavor, and more sweet deliciousness. When the veggies are close to done, stir in the thyme. Add the flour, and keep stirring gently on medium low heat. The longer you cook the rue, the darker the gravy will be, but also thinner. I cook the rue until it's a light peanut butter color, about 5 -7 minutes. Slowly whisk in the beef stock, constantly stirring, then add the Worcestershire and Gravy Master.

Raise heat to medium high, stirring occasionally while coming to a slow boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Add the meatballs, about 15 minutes if straight from oven to add their flavor to the gravy. If you are using  frozen, I go at least a half hour to fully heat and flavor.

I serve over Mashed Potatoes, some corn or peas and Rolls on the side and Enjoy!


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