Meatballs and Gravy

Meatballs and Gravy

Meatballs and Gravy 1536 1387 Daryl Duarte

Poaching (cooking in hot liquid) keeps the meatballs tender.  Practice your meatballs!

Poaching (cooking in hot liquid) keeps the meatballs tender. Practice your meatballs!

Meatballs and Gravy

We called it Gravy. Tomato sauce is always with meatballs, sometimes with sausage added and sometimes pork in the mix.  My Grandmother would call and say, “I made a gravy. Do you want to come over for dinner?”  We always said yes!  First, it was pasta, then a roast chicken with vegetables, followed by a salad and a dessert.  We were young, and we could eat a lot, making my grandmother very happy.  My mother’s meatballs were my favorite thing to eat.  In my youth, I announced I would purchase the house next door to be close to production.  I was ahead of my time with supply chain concerns!  Now, I make my meatballs - and I try as hard as possible to recreate the tender, tasty meatball of my youth. 
Poaching (cooking in hot liquid) keeps the meatballs tender.  Practice your meatballs!
5 from 1 vote


For the meatballs

  • 2 cups ground beef
  • ¾ cup bread crumb
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg

For the Gravy

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 28 oz cans of tomato puree
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh Italian flat-leafed parsley


Prepare the tomato mixture

  • Chop the onion into a fine dice. Transfer the chopped onion to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the salt and olive oil, and sauté over medium heat until translucent but not browned, about 10 minutes - stirring frequently. Add the garlic just at the end and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the canned tomato, water, bay leaf, pepper, thyme, parsley, and basil. Bring the tomato to a gentle simmer.

Make the meatballs

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk and breadcrumb, stir to moisten all the crumbs, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • In another small mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, the beaten egg, breadcrumb and milk mixture, salt and pepper, and parsley. Mix the ingredients well.
  • Add warm water to a small mixing bowl and place it near the stove.
  • Dip your fingertips into the water and moisten the palm of the other hand.   Using the hand with the moistened fingers, scoop out some meat and roll it in your moistened palm using your wet fingers.  Drop the meatball into the hot tomato and repeat for the remainder of the meat. The size of the meatball depends on how much you scoop.  To be precise, you can pre-measure the meatballs to a specific size.  I make 4-ounce meatballs.  I weigh them and lay them out onto a pan in rough shapes. I finish the rolling using the wet palm technique and then drop them into the poaching bath.
  • Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes - to set the meatballs.  Then, gently stir the gravy, move the meatballs around, and check to see if the gravy is sticking to the bottom.  You don't want scorched gravy on the bottom.   Lower the heat if necessary and stir every 30 minutes.  I like to cook my gravy for at least several hours. 
1 Comment
  • 5 stars
    Daryl, been a long time since the USSC days in North Haven. I still have the cookbook and make the meatball recipe a few times a month. Some relatives are visiting so just finished prepping the Easy Breakfast Casserole for consumption in the morning. They pushed me to look you up and it seems you are doing well. Long live COBOL and IDMS.

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