Meat Balls in Brown Gravy -
1/2 cup vegetable oil
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.
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).
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!
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.