My Salisbury Steak Meatballs smothered in garlic gravy on top of buttermilk mashed potatoes is just about the dreamiest meal I can imagine. Dig out your cast iron skillet, this is going to be good!
Omg I can’t shake my January cold/flu/whatever. I’m in the stage where I’m coughing every x-number of seconds and annoying myself and everyone around me. It’s to the point where I’m either hacking, blowing, or moaning. Not pretty. But oddly, it’s given me an voracious appetite for comfort food, so my January health kick (fresh fish, salads, grain bowls, smoothies) has to yield the floor to some serious comfort recipes…
This is the kind of meal that has me salivating and watching the clock from mid afternoon until dinner when I can finally indulge. Even though I’m sick as a dog I mustered the energy to throw these together because I needed to sink into the couch at the end of the day with a plate of these on my lap. The meatballs are soft and pillowy, the gravy is super rich and garlicky, and the mashed potatoes are creamy with a tang from buttermilk. Just what the doctor ordered 🙂
Salisbury steak is a throwback to the last century, sort of like a glorified hamburger with gravy. Making it into salisbury steak meatballs was a natural. Boomers probably remember it as a special restaurant meal, Millennials have probably never tasted it. The flavors are totally worth reviving ~ there’s lots of garlic that’s been slow sautéed until it’s golden brown, a little dry sherry to deglaze the pan, beef broth, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce in that yummy gravy.
5 helpful tips for working with ground beef
- Choose ground beef with 20% fat for burgers, meatloaves, and meatballs. The fat makes it tender and flavorful.
- Because it’s ground, ground beef is subject to quick spoilage. Plan on using your package of ground beef within 2 days of purchase, or freeze. A change in color from bright red to duller brown does not indicate spoilage, however.
- If you need to thaw ground beef, either put it in the refrigerator overnight, or use your microwave on the de-frost setting. Turn the meat often so it thaws evenly. You can also thaw frozen ground beef by submerging it in a bowl of cold water, weighing it down so it stays submerged. This will take about 30 minutes. Note to meatball lovers ~ I only use fresh ground beef for my meatballs, frozen and thawed meat doesn’t have the same great texture.
- Treat your meat gently! Don’t over-handle ground meat, it becomes tough. When I need to mix meatballs or meatloaf I break apart the meat before adding it to the bowl, and scatter my ingredients over it, that way it mixes together quicker.
- Go for brown, not gray! Whether it’s for tacos, burgers, or meatballs, make sure you get a good sear on your meat, that means a hot pan or oven, and no touching until you see that color.
A useful technique for cooking perfectly round meatballs ~
- I like to form the meatballs with a scoop so they’re all evenly sized. Then I arrange them on a baking sheet and bake them at 350F until they reach 160F inside. They come out nice and browned, evenly cooked, and perfectly round. (If I’ll be cooking them further in a sauce I’ll pull them out a little before they’re done.) Then I can add them to whatever sauce or gravy my recipe calls for.
Salisbury Steak Meatballs
- fresh thyme or parsley
- Preheat oven to 350F
- To make the meatballs, break apart the meat and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can do this by hand as well in a big bowl.)
- Add the rest of the meatball ingredients over top and blend just until everything is evenly combined, don’t over-mix.
- Use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to portion out the meat and roll into round balls. Set the balls on a baking sheet, you should have approximately 24 meatballs.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and register 160F inside.
- Meanwhile make the garlic gravy. Lightly coat the pan of a large skillet (big enough to fit the meatballs) with olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, slowly, for about 20 minutes, stirring often. Adjust the heat so that the garlic doesn’t burn or brown too quickly. When the garlic is nice and soft and golden, add the sherry and cook until the liquid is reduced.
- Separate out 1/2 cup of the broth and mix with the cornstarch, set aside.
- Add the rest of the broth to the pan and stir to combine. Bring up to a simmer, and add the cornstarch mixture to the pan, stirring constantly. When the gravy thickens, season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add a splash more Worcestershire if you like.
- Add the meatballs to the pan and cook together until they’re hot.
- Serve the meatballs and their gravy over buttermilk mashed potatoes, garnished with fresh thyme or parsley.