Smothered Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
Gayle McLeod | March 12, 2016
This mash-up combines my favourite meatball recipe with a short-cut to deliciousness, using our Serious Mushroom Soup. Just like with my recipe for Pork Medallions in Mushroom Gravy, this version ditches the canned stuff, yet still has the convenience of using ready-made soup. I promise you'll taste the difference, and the result is a dish that tastes like you made everything right from scratch – but in half the time.
If you're REALLY short for time, go right ahead and make this with ready-made meatballs. You can find some yummy, premade meatballs in the butcher section of some grocery stores. Just be sure to fry, not bake them... this recipe hinges on delicious pan-fried meatballs.
These meatballs can be made ahead of time and freeze really well. Make a huge batch on the weekend and tuck them in your freezer right next to our soups and sauces. You can thank me later :) File this one under "Family Food".
2 tbsp olive oil + plus more for cooking the meatballs
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped (reserve 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
2 large handfuls (5 oz container) of fresh spinach leaves, chopped
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup milk
2 thick slices sourdough bread, crust removed and torn into small pieces
2 lbs ground pork and beef combined (you can also use all ground turkey, or any combination of ground meat)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dry white wine, dry sherry or stock
1 container Serious Mushroom Soup
fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion (reserving the 1/2 cup for the gravy) and cook gently until just turning translucent. Add the minced garlic, chopped spinach, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and the spinach and onions are cooked. Add the Worcestershire sauce and cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready.
Put the breadcrumbs in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl and pour over the milk. Let sit for a few minutes until the bread has absorbed the milk. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for the meatballs. Add the ground meat, eggs and the cooled onion/spinach mixture. Get in there with your hands and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are combined. Start shaping the meatballs - I use a small ice-cream scoop and make meatballs about 2 inches in diameter. You can make smaller ones, but bigger ones take less time to roll :) Arrange the formed meatballs on the baking sheet. *At this point you can freeze the meatballs and transfer to a container for storage.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons in the same large skillet and start cooking the meatballs in batches until nicely browned on all sides - don't worry if they aren't cooked all the way through, they'll finish cooking in the gravy. Transfer meatballs to a plate and keep in a warm oven.
Pour off all but 1 tbsp of oil from the skillet, but don't wipe it out. All the little brown bits from cooking the meatballs are essential to the flavour in this recipe! Add the reserved chopped onions to the same skillet and cook until tender and fragrant. Add the wine to deglaze the skillet, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Pour in the mushroom soup and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the gravy while stirring occasionally until slightly thickened.
Return the meatballs to the skillet along with any accumulated juices. Simmer gently over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through (about 5-10 minutes), gently turning the meatballs so they are coated in the gravy. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired, and serve over buttered mashed potatoes with blanched broccolini or a nice green salad.