Cocktail Meatballs Stróganov~ juicy spiced meatballs in a Sherry laced gravy, this retro appetizer is ready for a comeback!
These are unabashedly retro, straight out of the 1950s. In fact my inspiration recipe comes from a little cookbook I found in a thrift shop, published in 1956. It was an era when Americans were just beginning to discover international cuisines after the end of WWII, with recipes like quiche, borscht, chili, chow mein, and chocolate mousse, and they tended to be a little bit oversimplified for novice housewives who were just dipping their toes into the world of gourmet cooking. I think there are some gems among these old recipes, like this one. I’ve added a little bit of extra flavor to these meatballs, but left the recipe fairly intact. I think they have a simple, comforting charm. You can serve them over noddles for dinner, too.
Cocktail Meatballs Stróganov
for the meatballs
- 3/4 lb lean ground beef
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 medium onion very finely minced
- 3 Tbsp fresh parsley very finely minced
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
for the sauce
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock
- 3 Tbsp dry sherry
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- handful of chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the meatballs by mixing the beef, onion, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg. cloves and parsley in a bowl. Lightly combine everything with your fingertips, taking care not to over work the meat or your meatballs will be tough.
- Form the meat mixture into small balls. I used a small scoop to help portion it out evenly.
- Heat the oil or butter in a large skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Do this in batches and add more butter or oil if necessary. Set them aside on a plate, keeping the remaining fat in the pan.
- Add the sherry to the pan that you browned the meatballs in, and cook and stir to remove any bits stuck to the bottom.
- Add the flour and mustard powder to the pan and cook, stirring, for a minute.
- Whisk in the beef stock, until it is well combined. Cook until the gravy thickens and boils. Taste at this point and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Add the meatballs back into the pan, and gently simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the meatballs are done inside. Make sure to baste the meatballs with the sauce often while they are simmering.
- Take the pan off the heat and add the creme fraiche and parsley, Blend well, and then put back on the burner just to heat the sauce through. Do not over cook or your sauce may curdle. (This is especially the case with sour cream)
- Serve right away with toothpicks and extra chopped parsley for garnish.
notes and variations
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