I’ll start by saying that I got this recipe from Hello Fresh and I’ve been remaking it ever since!
If you like meatballs and gravy, the REAL brown gravy not sauce, then you’ll love this. You can omit the onions if you want, but they add so much flavor and texture that I’d suggest that you don’t.
So, first, there are a few must haves that you must likely do not have, but you should minimize this post and go get them on Amazon ASAP. Since I found out about these the my monthly Hello Fresh boxes, I’ve never been without them in my cabinet. They’re a bit pricey, but you can save them for your special dinner recipes if you do not want to keep buying them often.
Savory choice beef broth concentrate packets are what I use for this recipe, but I always have chicken from them and demi glaze as well which is what I used for the mushrooms in the photo. I recommend all 3 and I am not pushing any affiliate links in the entire post, just my honest opinion and recipe of you want to follow it properly. They are usually on prime and you can have it in a day or 2 if you want to plan a nice weekend dinner.
The next “prep” item that I suggest you make ahead and then always have in your pantry is the lesser known “Fry Seasoning”. You can make your own using seasonings you probably already have in your pantry, but there’s no comparing anything else to the flavor of fry seasoning… there just isn’t.. it’s so simple too, I use an empty seasoning container and just refill it as needed. It’s just EQUAL parts, any amount but EQUAL is key, of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Then shake. That’s it. Wala! You are now the proud owner of Fry Seasoning!
Now let’s get started on the actual recipe now that I’m assuming you have everything stated above ready to go.
Add to a stand mixer (like I do, or do it the hard way if you must in a big ol’ bowl and get your hands dirty) 1lb of meatloaf mix or just ground beef if fine too though I always prefer the groud meatloaf mix (veal & beef) as it’s more flavorful and juicy for meatballs. Then 2 tablespoons of your handy dandy fry seasoning, 2 tablespoons minced onion (fresh or dry doesn’t matter) 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs. THAT’S IT. Fight your temptation to add anything else. Nothing else is needed and will ruin these. No eggs or milk, no extra seasonings.. ok you can add parsley if you want some pop of color but that’s it! Mix until well blended and preheat your oven to 425°.
Then, I use a tablespoon measuring thingy to scoop even heaps of the meat mixture to a wire rack over a tinfoil pan. I like when the meatballs don’t sit in the grease and burn, the wire rack helps then keep their form and get the grease out.
1lb of tablespoon size meatballs yields about 30 meatballs. It doesn’t matter what size you make yours, but make sure they’re even sized. That is key!
Bake for 15 minutes at 425° and then let them rest for about 5 minutes.
For a batch like this, even though so simple I flash freeze half of them and then add to a freezer bag for another meal (like Hawaii crockpot meatballs) or the next time I make this gravy recipe or some simple spaghetti.
Now to the gravy, although you should be starting the gravy as your meatballs are popped into the oven since you would’ve already read this, you’ll need a pan and 3 tablespoons of butter. Start melting the butter on medium heat and add a thickly sliced onion. You’ll want to slice it thick so you get some nice caramelized onions. If you slice it too thin, they’ll burn before carmalizing.
Another trick, make sure you toss the onions very often and cover with a lid in between tossing. This helps soften them quicker and keep the juice lubricating them in the pan.
The onions should turn almost translucent, about 10 minutes of tossing and turning and covering but it’s worth it.
Once your onions are translucent, toss in 2 tablespoons of flour and heat and toss for a minute or 2 until flour is incorporated, then add 1 1/2 cup of water, 2 packets of the beef stock concentrate (not much can replace this since it’s very flavorful much more than beef broth, so make sure you have this) and a tablespoon of your fry seasoning. Heat on medium high stirring frequently until bubbling, then turn off and stir in one more tablespoon of butter until incorporated. The sauce will thicken as it sits and you can add more water if needed but I like it alittle thick.
Season with alittle salt and pepper and again, feel free to add parsley for some extra plating color.
Stir in your cooked meatballs and you’re done! This post is probably longer than it needed to be, but I wanted to be sure to hit some points and tricks so that you get the best outcome possible.
These are great alone or served on top of mashed potatoes. Yum!! Let me know if you try it in comments.