Thursday, January 8, 2009

Really Retro

Sometimes I crave a little comfort food, something that my mom used to make, and her mom too. But because for much of my adulthood I have shied away from meat, beef specifically, I was always a bit reluctant to make this dish, which is so very beefy. But as Lucinda Scala Quinn (a chef who works with Martha Stewart) put it, if you have boys, you need to make friends with ground beef. And so it seems that I have finally surrendered to this quite delicious, if very occasional meal. And it's true, my boys do love ground beef, husband included.

This recipe is from the 50s. I chatted with my 90 year old nana today about it, and she said that she used to make it for my mom and her brother. And because the dish was so good, soon all her friends were requesting the recipe for their families. She wasn't sure what cookbook she got it from, and I guess it doesn't really matter now. It is a kid tested and approved meal, and grown-ups think it is pretty great too. We always serve it with rice, because it makes a lot of delectable, salty gravy. But I think it would be fantastic over mashed potatoes too. I often double the recipe so we have some left over. And don't even think of substituting ground turkey for the beef!

Parmesan Meatballs

1 pound ground beef (I use lean)
1 T diced dried onion (in the spice section)
1/2 C fresh bread crumbs
1/2 C parmesan cheese
1/2 C milk
1 egg

1/4 C flour
1 can consomme (beef broth with gelatin added...Campbells makes this)
1/2 C milk
1/2 C white wine (something you would drink)

Combine ingredients for meatballs and mix well with your hands. Form into smallish meat balls (about the size of golf balls) and fry in 2 T melted butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Brown quickly on all sides, cooking them in batches if necessary. Remove meatballs from pan and whisk 1/4 C flour into the remaining fat (if there is none left, add a couple more tablespoons of butter). Slowly whisk in consomme, until mixture is smooth. Stir in milk and wine and bring to a boil. Return meatballs to pan and simmer, covered for 20 minutes over low heat.

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