I seem to always be in a state of "I need to clean out the freezer!" I'm sure you all know by now that I'm a traveling consultant, which means that I make a lot of food one day, then freeze it because I'm out of the state for the next 3 - 4 days. Heck, I also freeze some leftover ingredients so they won't go bad before I can use them again. And, since I'm living in the NYC area and there are a ton of tasty restaurants nearby, I tend to only eat at home about 50% of the time. Hence, the need to freeze.
But sometimes I'm just over it. I look in my freezer and realize I can't reach the ice cube tray because there's a cup of frozen milk in front of it. (Yes, you can freeze milk!) Or I open the freezer door and I'm attacked by falling slabs of ground beef. You know how that is, right? I had picked up some extra ground beef when it was on sale at my local grocery store but since I didn't have an immediate use for it, I threw it in the freezer...aka the "black hole". Now was the time to use this.
For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog From Grandma Loy's Kitchen. I loved looking through all of Miss Loy's recipes. There was so many desserts!! We all know those are near and dear to my heart, but I am sad (happy?) to say that I have a ton of desserts already stored in my freezer. It's sort of bordering on a dessert hoard in there. I don't want to talk about it. With my ground meat firmly in mind, I eventually decided to make a batch of Swedish Meatballs. I've actually never made this before because, guess what!, I don't like gravy. Yep, last week I completely shocked you all with my black bean disclosure, and this week, I'm continuing on that theme with some gravy info. I don't know why, but I've never been enthralled by the thought of butter, flour, and broth coming together to smother my meat. Not so interested. Cheese? Why yes, I'll take that. Gravy? Uh, I'll pass, thanks.
So this time I decided to give gravy a shot. Why not? I live my life on the edge so let's take the plunge. I'm so glad I did because these meatballs turned out to be really flavorful and the sauce made the meat extra rich and hearty. I could totally get on the gravy train now. (Get it? I know, I'm corny!)
slightly adapted from From Grandma Loy's Kitchen
makes ~2 dozen small meatballs
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons fat (butter, shortening, or vegetable oil)
- 1 cup beef broth
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked pepper
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Mix together beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg or allspice, onion and egg in a medium bowl. Shape the meat mixture lightly into 1 - 1 1/2-inch meat balls.
3) Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil in the pan and brown the meatballs on all sides in batches. Set the meatballs in a large casserole dish once they are done.
4) In the same saucepan, add the fat until melted/heated. Brown the flour in the fat.
5) Add the beef broth and cook until the gravy is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
6) Pour the sauce over the meatballs. If desired, the meatballs can be covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days at this point. If baking right away, cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for about 45 minutes. Serve over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.