Tag Archives: gravy

Vintage Gold Rush Meat Balls

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I found this antique in my box of recipes, hand-typed on a yellowing, partially disintegrated index card. My great-grandmother developed this recipe, and it is no doubt the origin of the Gold Rush Meat Balls that my mom used to make. The original version was quite different from my mother’s recipe, however. Mamaw used pickles as well as cheese in her meat balls, and her gravy was made with evaporated milk and bouillon.

I did make one small alteration to the vintage version of this recipe: I reduced the amount of ground beef used per meat ball. The directions as written would have yielded 8 servings of 1 meat ball each, using about 1/4 pound of beef per meat ball. This is a bit much for me. :) I was able to get about 8 smaller meatballs out of 1 pound of ground beef, which made two fairly hearty servings. I’ve written the recipe below to serve 4.

I chose to serve this with vegetables, rather than following the original suggestion of cooked noodles. The low-carb eating plan is working well, and I’m happy to stick with it for now.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16 (1-inch) cubes sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 16 (1/2-inch) cubes dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Divide the beef into 16 equal portions.

3-meatball

Place 1 cheese cube and 1 pickle cube in the center of each portion, and mold the beef around them into a meat ball.

4-brown

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and pan-fry the meatballs until evenly browned.

Remove the meat balls, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the residual fat.

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Add the chopped onion to the skillet, and sauté until clear.

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Add the flour, and whisk until combined.

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Add the evaporated milk and bouillon cubes, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until the sauce has thickened.

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Salt and pepper the meat balls lightly, and return them to the sauce.

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Cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

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Serves 4.

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Texas-Style Chicken Fried Steak

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According to the newspaper clipping in my box, this recipe was originally published by Barry Bluestein and Kevin Morrissey in their book “Guilt-Free Frying: All of Your Favorite ‘Fried’ Foods With No Muss, No Fuss, and Almost No Fat”. I was so pleased with the result of the recipe that I will probably purchase the book. It is readily available on Amazon.

For the die-hard Southern and Midwestern readers, I must make a distinction. This recipe will not generate the kind of plate-sized, crispy-crunchy, wonderful addictive chicken fried steak that you may be accustomed to. This is a kinder, gentler facsimile. It’s pretty darned good, though, and I plan to continue making it. The flavor is great, and I am very impressed with the way that the gravy turned out. It is richer and more delicious than any low-fat gravy has a right to be. The texture of the breading isn’t half bad either, due to the authors’ secret ingredient: potato starch.

Ingredients:

Steak:

  • 1 pound boneless beef round tip steak
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Gravy:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

For the Steak:

Put a heavy, nonstick baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

3-pound_thin

Trim the steak, slice into quarters, and pound the quarters with a meat tenderizer until 1/4 inch thick.

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On a large plate, mix the flour, garlic powder, mustard, salt, and pepper.

5-starch

On another plate, place the potato starch.

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In a shallow bowl, beat together the egg white, evaporated milk, and Worcestershire sauce.

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Dip pieces of meat into the potato starch to coat,

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then into the egg mixture,

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and finally, coat the meat evenly in the flour mixture.

Spray the preheated baking sheet with cooking spray, place the steaks on the baking sheet, and spray them lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 5 minutes, turn over, and bake until nicely browned, about another 5 minutes.

While the steaks are baking, make the gravy.

For the Gravy:

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In a microwave-safe container, combine the chicken broth and evaporated milk.

Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until steaming.

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In a nonstick saucepan, toast the flour over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Whisk in the heated broth mixture, salt, and pepper.

Cook until thick and bubbly, and drizzle over finished steaks.

12-finished

Serves 4.

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Gold Rush Meatballs with Pan Fried Gravy

Some of the best recipes are passed down through oral tradition. My mother taught me to make this dinner when I was about 9 years old, and I have documented the amounts and process for this blog. As is usual with recipes, the form changes slightly with each generation. Mom always made the meatballs with Cheddar cheese; I use a mixture of Cheddar and blue cheeses. The gravy, however, remains unchanged.

Proper pan-fried gravy is a bit of an art form. I have met only a handful of people in my generation who know how to make any gravy that does not come from a powdered mix. I now pass on this skill to you, the reader. The timing is delicate, and the steps must be followed in order. Once you have added the liquid, you cannot add more flour without the gravy becoming lumpy. And if the gravy sticks to the pan and burns, you’re in trouble. Use a very low heat setting, and keep a close eye on what is happening.  Let me know in the comments section if you have any trouble or questions, and I will do my best to help.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 16 (1/2-inch) cubes Cheddar cheese
  • 1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions:

1-meat_amount

Divide the ground beef into 16 portions. Each portion should be roughly the size of a small handful.

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In the center of each portion, place 1 cube of Cheddar cheese and a small amount (roughly 1/2 teaspoon) of the blue cheese.

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Roll up each portion into a meatball. Make sure the meat is as compacted as possible, or the cheese will melt and run out.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.

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Add the meatballs to the skillet, and roll them in the oil to coat.

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Sprinkle the meatballs with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic powder.

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Turn the meatballs, and sprinkle with the rest of the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

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Brown the meatballs, and remove them from the oil. Reduce the heat to low.

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Sprinkle the flour into the remaining oil in the skillet, and use the back of a gravy ladle to mix. This technique helps to keep the texture smooth and free from lumps.

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Add the water to the skillet, and continue mixing with the back of the gravy ladle. The gravy may thicken quite quickly at this point; you may add more water as needed.

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Add the milk to the skillet, and mix gently.

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Add the meatballs back into the gravy.

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Baste the meatballs with the gravy, and cook until the gravy becomes as thick as desired.

Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes, a vegetable of your choice, and a generous amount of gravy.

13-finished

Serves 4.

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