Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meatballs! Stroganoff and a Sub!

Stroganoff pictured here

 This recipe makes enough meatballs to set some aside in the freezer for spaghetti, meatball subs (scroll to the bottom of this post for my meatball sub), or any other recipe you'd like to have a batch of meatballs ready to go. I forgot to write down exactly how many it made, but I baked two baking sheets of about one-inch meatballs. So 40-50 meatballs. I strongly suggest chilling the meatballs, as it helps them hold their shape and it's easier to form them. They can be prepped the night before, so all you have to do is throw them into the oven.

As always, much of this recipe is personal preference. For example, the mushrooms. I would have preferred large slices of mushrooms, but I live with mushroom-haters (haha), so I chopped them up pretty small. Same with the onions.  The meatballs were a big hit with them, by the way.  Score one for me. I won't tell if you don't. :)
Oh, also, a mixture of ground meats, such as pork, lamb and beef is preferable for ultimate meatballs, but I used just ground beef for the sake of my wallet.  They were still moist and wonderful!
But enough of that! Let's get to the recipe..

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • roughly 2 cups torn bread chunks from a thick bread like a sub bun
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry as possible
  • 1/4 cup fresh fine chopped mushrooms
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire 
  • few good pinches of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
Stroganoff gravy:
  •  5 Tablespoons margarine, plus 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 cup minced onion 
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped small
  • 1 small dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire 
  • salt and pepper to taste (keep in mind the meatballs will add salt taste)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more to top with, if desired
To make meatballs:
Soak bread chunks in 3/4 cup of milk in small bowl for about 10-20 minutes, until all the milk is soaked up. 

Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl. Mix with your hands to combine, but try not to over mix or squish too harsh. Cover bowl and chill for at least an hour; up to overnight.  

Line a cookie sheet (one with a small edge so the meatball drippings don't get all over your oven, that's always joyful) with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a small ice cream scoop, gently make about 1 inch meatballs. They don't have to be exact, but try to make them even sized as possible for even cooking.  When baking sheet is full, put leftover mix into fridge until the first batch is done.

Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs. I usually find when they are firm, but not hard, to the touch, they are done.

Let meatballs stand for about 3-5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

Remove and make the last batch of meatballs.

You should have 40-60 meatballs. Save some for this recipe and in labeled freezer bags, freeze the others for quick meals or snacks.

Stroganoff Gravy:
In large pan, use 5 Tablespoons of margarine, with bay leaf, to soften onions about 3-4 minutes over medium heat and then add mushrooms and dash of salt and pepper. Stir and cook a couple more minutes, but not so long as to soak up all the moisture in the pan.

Add 1 Tablespoon margarine and using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in flour.

Cook and stir until all flour is moistened and you have a thick mixture, or roux. Keep stirring for about 2-3 minutes, lowering the heat just a touch, if needed, so as not to burn the flour.

In a slow, but steady stream, add beef broth while stirring vigorously to avoid lumping. Keep stirring and adding broth slowly, until all the broth is added.  Add milk and keep stirring until thickening slows.

Add nutmeg, Worcestershire and then salt and pepper to taste, if needed. 

When gravy is thick, remove from heat and add sour cream. Stir, then add meatballs.

Serve over medium egg noodles, rice, or alone, and with extra sour cream, if desired.
 Mmmm.. I love extra sour cream!

What I did with some extra meatballs I saved out:
Add about 2 Tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan to a small can (15 oz) of spaghetti sauce to about 15 meatballs or so, depending out saucy you like them. Put on a buttered and toasted sub bun sprinkled with garlic powder. Arrange meatballs, spoon sauce over, top with a bit more grated parmesan, some thin sliced mozzarella, teeeny pinch of Italian seasoning, stick under broiler to melt and tada! LUNCH! yum!
Ahhh...nothing like a hot meatball sub for a Saturday lunch!

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