Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Meatballs in Brown Gravy

New Orleansians like two types of gravy, red and brown. The shades may vary, but it's definitely red and brown. Very few New Orleanians say, "Pasta Sauce" or "Spaghetti Sauce"; it's "Red Gravy". This is kind of a labor intensive recipe, but it is so worth it...the smells, the taste...you have to try this. This is adapted from Frank Davis, a New Orleans television personality and cook.

Meat Balls in Brown Gravy -


2 lbs. ground sirloin

1 cup finely diced onions

3/4 cup finely diced celery

1/2 cup finely diced bell pepper

4 cloves minced garlic1/4 cup finely minced parsley

2 whole eggs

3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons Zatarain's Creole Seasoning or (1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne - mix together)


1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup finely diced onions

1/2 cup minced celery1

1/2 cup minced bell pepper

4 cloves minced garlic

1/3 cup minced parsley

3 whole, dried bay leaves

4-6 cups chicken broth, as desired

1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet as desired

1 can Hot Rotel Tomatoes with green chilies, minced

2 to 3 pounds “B” size creamer potatoes (new potatoes)

In a large mixing bowl put the meat and all the meatball ingredients. Then work everything together with your hands, you’ll need to get a uniform mix. When you can pick up a portion of meat, you want to be able to easily roll it into a “boulet” (ball) a little larger than a ping-pong ball without it sticking to your hands. When all the meatballs have been formed, place them side by side onto 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.

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 whisk, 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 and the Rotel tomatoes (including the liquid they came packed in).

Next, remove the browned meatballs from the oven 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 fork-tender, chopped new potatoes.
Don’t start stirring the gravy once you put the meatballs in or you’ll break them all up and your dish will resemble a “messy chili.” Just let them simmer! They’ll be okay!

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 and toss them over and over and over again in the bowl until each and every potato has been seasoned evenly.

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.


Bellini Valli said...

These sound like such comfort food Katherine with our cooler nights. I will give these a try for sure:D

Steph said...

THe one time I made meatballs, the fell apart and turned into a ground beef stir fry. Next time, we have to bake them first!

Lori said...

Oh wow, I can practically smell them from here. Those meatballs look SO good! I've never made meatballs. I guess I need to give it a try.

Greg C said...

I'm in love. You really rock in the kitchen.

Maria said...

I am not a meatball person so I didn't know about the war between sauces! Looks like a nice dish for the cooler weather!

Marjie said...

Chicken gravy with beef! Sounds good!

Megan said...

Katherine, this looks life a perfect fall meal. Just add that cheesecake and Id be in heaven. I was hooked on your tamale pie but this is a running contender!

Pam said...

What a perfect meal. Total comfort food - the gravy sounds really, really good.

gigi said...

I can't make a good gravy. I need some practice. I love gravy on things but never have liked my own. Seems like I can close my eyes and smell this cooking :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Brilliant! This is just the dish I need to please that Southeren husband of mine. He's a meatball loving fool. Love it!

Aggie said...

I saw these earlier today and had to come back again...they look delicious. I never make brown gravy, don't really know how! I will have to try this!

Amanda said...

Wow these look really good, I love meatballs!

Debbie said...

They look delicious. The gravy sounds great! We love meatballs here so I will have to try them.