Everyone has comfort food. The Fellow’s is salisbury steak and grilled cheese (not together, but now I have ideas… hm…), and when I first started learning how to “cook”, I’d often default to the family size Banquet salisbury steak dinners, served with white rice. Moving away from all the crappy, processed food, it was one of the things I no longer made – partly because any recipe I found yielded nothing tasty.
I was working on my week’s meal planning and saw someone posted salisbury steak meatballs on Pinterest, and after a quick run down of what they used in their gravy – which is always the part that ends up being gross in other recipes – I decided to spearhead my own version of these juicy, flavorful beef meatballs in a thick, hearty shallot gravy. This one is a winner, for sure.
1 pound lean ground beef
2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1.5 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
1.5 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
14 ounces (1 can) reduced sodium beef broth*
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons shallot, diced/minced/sliced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a bowl, mix together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, tomato paste, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion and garlic powders, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using. Omit if you don’t want spicy. Gently fold all the ingredients together. It’s possible to overwork the beef and create dense meatballs, so you want to have a soft touch, but keep it thoroughly mixed together.
- Roll meat mixture into approximately 1 Tablespoon balls and set aside. This should make 32-38 meatballs. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, place the meatballs about 1″ apart to cook. You may need to do this in 2-3 batches. Do not overcrowd the meatballs, as they will steam instead of brown. After 3-4 minutes, flip meatballs, and continue to cook until mostly done. Once all sides are a nice deep brown color, you can start to make the gravy. They’ll continue to cook in the sauce. [If you need to do more than one batch in the pan, remove the first set of cooked meatballs, and repeat Step 3 until all meatballs are done. With the last batch in the skillet, continue to Step 4.]
- Push the meatballs to the edge of pan, leaving a hole in the middle of the skillet. Melt the butter and add the shallots. Cook until they start to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the butter and shallots, and toss until it forms a thick paste. Cook for about 2 minutes, to allow the flour to lose some of its ‘grit’. Pour in the beef broth. This will cause the hot skillet to sizzle and use this opportunity to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Mix well.
- The sauce will start to thicken pretty quick. Continue to cook over medium heat, but now moving the meatballs around in the gravy. If you have other batches of meatballs sitting out, add them to the gravy now. It should take less than 5 minutes to finish cooking. If it gets too thick, add a little more beef broth (or water) and stir to incorporate. If it’s not thick enough to your liking, mix 1 Tablespoon flour and 1 Tablespoon warm water in a separate cup/bowl and add to the gravy. Don’t add dry flour into the gravy. It will clump and be difficult to break apart completely. Stir to incorporate, and give an additional minute or so to thicken further. As the gravy cools, it will thicken a little more.
*If you cannot find, or don’t buy reduced sodium broth, be mindful of how much additional salt you use in the recipe. 1/2 teaspoon added to the gravy on top of regular beef broth may be overkill for your taste buds.