Yesterday, I promised DH that I would make him meatloaf tonight, but this morning, after seeing a chef make meatballs on the Today Show, he decided that he wanted meatballs. So, this gave me an idea. Wouldn’t meatballs still work if I used the same ingredients I use for meatloaf? I proposed this to him, and after responding “Would that work?” and me responding that I thought it would, he quickly agreed and we were both looking forward to it the entire day…me to the challenge, and him to the result. Because he likes his meatloaf with ketchup and I like mine with bacon, I decided to make a gravy based on these ingredients, to go along with it. Here’s how it went:
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Start out by finely chopping the veggies and herbs for your meat mixture and adding them to a bowl (I used a Microplane for the carrots b/c I didn’t want the chunks, just the flavor). To your veggies, add tomato sauce and one egg, and lightly season the mixture with salt and pepper (I like to season every layer of my food). Remember to adjust the amounts according to how much meat you are using, I used about 11/2 pounds.
Next, add your ground beef (ground turkey’s okay, too), a little salt and pepper, and some seasoned salt and gently combine, make sure not to overwork, or the final product will be tough. Once well-combined, form your meatballs. I made mine huge, mostly because I didn’t want it to take too long. Then, heat about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, in a nonstick skillet, over a medium flame. Add your meatballs to the pan.
To make the gravy, sautee thinly sliced bacon in a nonstick skillet.
Once most of the fat has rendered, sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of flour (if there is excessive fat in your pan, you can drain some of it off). This will allow you to form a roux, which will be the base for your gravy. Gently stir until the flour melds with the oil in the pan. Continue to stir over medium heat (keep a good eye on your pan as your roux can burn very quickly if left unattended).
Once your roux is a little lighter than the color of peanut butter, add hot water while quickly stirring. Once you reach a consistency that is slightly thinner than what you want the end product to be, add a couple tablespoons of ketchup, a quick splash of soy sauce (I used low sodium), a sprig of rosemary, salt, pepper, and seasoned salt to taste.
Combine ingredients and once the gravy is well-combined and your meatballs are fully browned, you can pour the gravy over the meatballs.
Once you combine the gravy and meatballs, stir to coat the meatballs and leave covered, on low heat to simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, while you complete the rest of your meal.
I served these meatballs with mashed sweet and white potatoes, and mixed vegetables. They were full of flavor and super tender. DH actually said he wanted me to make this for his next birthday (by the way, he usually says this about something once a week!). Enjoy!