06 February 2011

Crock Pot Mushrooms & Meatballs


Look at this relic! This throwback to the Brady Bunch years was a wedding gift to Silent Bob and I over thirty years ago ... it's been the starting spot for stews, soups, sauces, and boozed up wine and cider, but this weekend, it's getting ready for some football ... and church.

Silent Bob and I are heading for a Super Bowl party this weekend ...plus, I am cooking and baking for my church's fellowship hour. For those of you not inclined toward church-going, that is the food fest that happens right after the Sunday service. Kind of like a tail gate party on the back end of the sermon. We gather and chat up the week, check on our neighbors, confirm any up-coming meetings, and congregate around a table of sweets and savories. I decided to make some meaty snacks for the fellowship hour. It will be a fun break from all the coffee cakes and cookies (although I AM making both of those too!). Some fresh grapes and a cheese platter, some crackers, and another platter of savory pastries and I think everyone's tastes will be covered. It IS shaping up to being a busy baking day, though!



So ... these meatballs are warm little bites that would be welcome at a cocktail party, beer blast, or at a sedate little knosh fest at the local hall. The key is to keep the salt content low, as the combination of the sauce and meatballs could take it too high. This recipe originally had a lot of processed ingredients (canned mushroom soup, being a major one). I have changed it up, using fresh ingredients and very little salt (because I'm still using frozen meatballs from the supermarket case). At another time, I would make my own meatballs, but today, time is of the essence. So...I'll  bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet and then drain them well on a paper towel-lined platter. Then, I'll lay them in a slowcooker and pour a nice chunky mushroom and onion sauce over the top. The beauty of this offering is that it can be made earlier than your serving time and left to remain warm. At the last minute, a small amount of sour cream and some fresh chopped parsley will be stirred into the sauce to create an even smoother feel and flavor and some fresh color to the finish.

So, let's go.



Crock Pot Mushrooms and Meatballs - printer friendly

Crock Pot Mushrooms and Meatballs

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 ½ lb. ground meat – pork and beef combination
½ medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 slices white bread, crusts trimmed off, soaked in water, broken up
Mushroom Sauce:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ medium onion, small dice
10 oz. button mushrooms – stemmed and quartered
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. milk or half & half
2 tsp. tomato paste
¼ c. dry white wine
1 tsp. beef broth paste dissolved in ½ c. hot water
pinch of paprika
pinch of allspice
salt and black pepper, to taste
½ c. sour cream
2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

Making the Dish:
1. Mash all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl until the bread is fully incorporated.

2. Form the meatballs, making them firm and about 1-inch in diameter.

3. Chill the meatballs while you pre-heat the oven to 400° F.

4. Place the meatballs on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, rolling them every so often to brown all sides.

5. Remove the meatballs and drain them on a paper-towel-lined platter, allowing them to cool down.

6. Meanwhile make the sauce by sautéing the onions and mushrooms in the butter in a non-stick pan.

7. Don’t crowd the mushrooms, brown them on all sides and as they brown remove them and put them in the crock pot, adding new mushrooms to the sauté.

8. When the mushrooms have been browned, add the flour to the last of them to form a roux. Cook the flour for a minute or so. You can add just a touch more butter if the flour is not cooking in well.

9. Pour the milk over the roux and mix to combine until it begins to thicken.

10. Add the white wine and tomato paste and continue cooking to form a smooth sauce. Correct the seasonings with the salt and pepper.

11. Layer the meatballs and sauce into the crock pot and set the heat at low. Cover and leave until the mix is heated through, gently ‘fluffing up the meatballs now and then.

12. Just before serving, fold in the sour cream and parsley.

13. Have cocktail picks and napkins nearby or small plates for serving.

Serving Note: Flatbread wedges are excellent with these snacks for mopping up the sauce.

Recipe Note: I put allspice and paprika into the sauce as a fix on using 'store-bought' meatballs. If you make your meatballs using the recipe, you can wait on these ingredients in the sauce. Taste the finished product and then decide is the sauce needs the added spice. I also think added parsley for presentation would be pretty and more green tasting. Just sayin'.

6 comments:

  1. What alot of baking and cooking - worth it though!!

    I'd love to see these meatballs served up at a party!

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  2. is this what we'd call a pressure cooker over here in the UK? never used one but if the results are like this then I may have to purchase!

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  3. @ Dom - Nope! A pressure cooker has a sealed lid and can bring cooked product way up in temperature using minimal liquid and without losing steam to the outside environment. A crock pot is a glazed pot that is heated with a coil from below/around and it used for slow cooking. The heavy lid doesn't let much steam escape and the low constant temperature maintained by the electrical coil is perfect for untended cooking. Hence, folks put contents in in the morning , leave it set on a low temp, and come home to gently cooked stews, soups, braised meats, etc. Phew! That was a mouthful!

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  4. I love seeing appliances that still WORK after so long. I have a conspiracy theory about planned obsolescence. Those meatballs sound wonderful.

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  5. I had that same model of crock-pot! I inherited it from my sister who inherited it from someone else! I was yellow instead of red but the same model. It was finally replaced because with the 8 of us we need one of the huge one. Being able to take the crock out and wash it is worth the price of a new one for me. Love the recipe, the sauce sounds good enough to stand on it's own. All your recipes sounds fabulous!

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  6. @ Audra - Dear, you are good for my soul! I think you must love keeping the use in 'older things' as much as I. You know? Kristen made a comment about her suspicion about business and their need to 'plan obsolescence' ... I, too, have an inate Yankee need to fix it and not throw it away, use it for all its worth, and honor the design of older things. My crockpot may have been the wedding present from my sister, but it is also, at this point, a comment on my determination to use it until I can use it no more ...

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