Monday, April 20, 2015

Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy

My mum made fabulous meatballs, flavourful and so tender they would almost melt in your mouth. I didn't take note of the recipe while I had the chance but I think this one captures the essence of the ones she made. Simmered in a simple mushroom sauce, they're perfect for serving to family and friends for a casual meal and they reheat beautifully so can be made in advance. Extras, if there are any, can be frozen, just defrost before heating.

Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy 
Serves 6
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes


2 slices sandwich bread 
80ml milk
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil*
1 small or 1/2 large onion, minced*
2 cloves garlic, minced*
700-750g ground meat, a mix of lean beef, pork and veal
2 large eggs
1-1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper 
2 tbsp chopped parsley
25g/60ml grated Parmesan cheese 

*minced onion and garlic can be substituted with 3/4 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder respectively; omit the oil if you use them

Mushroom Gravy:  
250-300g cremini or white button mushrooms, whole or sliced
1 tbsp butter 
1 tbsp vegetable oil
480ml low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock 
120ml water
1 sprig fresh thyme 
120ml cold water
3 tbsp all-purpose flour 
Salt and pepper to taste

broiling pan or baking sheet with a rack
large skillet with a fitted lid


For the Meatballs:
Preheat the oven on the Broil setting.  Have ready the broiling pan or baking sheet with a lightly oiled rack on top. 

Tear the bread slices into pieces and place them in a small bowl. Pour the milk on top and set aside to soak.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent, but not brown. If the onion starts to brown, reduce heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat to cool.

Put the ground meat, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese into a large bowl. Mash the soaked bread and milk together and add to the bowl. Add the cooled onion and garlic. Mix together, preferably with your hands, until all of the ingredients are combined.  If the mixture is a little wet and loose, let it sit for a few minutes.

Shape the mixture into 2.5cm meatballs, about the size of a walnut (a cookie scoop is an easy way to measure the mixture out) and place them on the broiling pan or prepared baking sheet and rack.

Broil for 5-7 minutes in the top third of the oven or until golden, turn and broil an additional 3-5 minutes or until golden brown all over. The meatballs won't be cooked through - they'll finish cooking in the gravy. 

In the meantime, start the gravy.
If using whole mushrooms, wipe them clean with a damp paper towel. Trim the stems and slice the mushrooms to desired thickness.

Wipe out the skillet you used to cook the onions and garlic and add the butter and oil. Heat over medium-high until the butter is foaming. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir quickly to coat them with the fat. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until most have started to brown. Add the stock, 120ml water and thyme. Bring to a boil. Add the browned meatballs. If the meatballs aren't yet ready, cover the pan and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. 

Once the meatballs have been added, bring the mixture back to a simmer, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes on low to medium-low heat until the meatballs are no longer pink in the middle.

Remove the lid and let the bubbling subside (reduce heat to low if necessary). Pour 120ml cold water into a small measuring cup. Add the flour and whisk vigorously until flour is completely dissolved and no lumps remain. Add the mixture to the skillet in a slow stream, whisking constantly. 

Once incorporated, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil. Stirring constantly, cook for 3-4 minutes or until thickened and the taste of raw flour is gone. Remove the sprig of thyme. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with cooked broad egg noodles or Creamy Mashed Potatoes.


  1. Hi Zosia,
    Your meatballs looks really delicious! I like it that the cooking is finished in the gravy, it makes the gravy all the more flavourful!
    Miss you at IHCC! :)

    1. Thanks Joyce. The Jacques Pepin cookbooks I ordered have finally arrived so I may be rejoining IHCC soon.


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