This recipe, one of the hubby's most frequently requested, is very representative of our now-combined families. This is my mother-in-law's recipe for meatballs, combined with a version of my dad's legendary gravy.
The secret to the meatballs is crushed saltines. And the secret to the gravy? Cream of chicken soup. (I think I've mentioned on here before that my Grandma Erickson, my dad's mom, could accomplish extraordinary culinary feats with a can of cream of chicken soup.)
My gravy still isn't as good as my dad's, and I'm convinced that he's withholding some secret trick from me. (You know, aside from the whole "patience, young padawan" thing.) My tweaks to my dad's recipe are to add a bit of browning sauce and Worcestershire sauce, just to beef up the gravy a bit. (You don't get a lot of juice and pan drippings from meatballs.)
Another of my dad's little tricks? Use off-brand cream of chicken soup. Because it's not as chickeny as the more expensive brands, it picks up the flavors of your meat much better.
Meatballs in Gravy
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, preferably 85% lean
3/4 cup crushed saltines
Salt, pepper, and onion salt
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 soup cans water
Salt, pepper, and onion salt, to taste
1-2 teaspoons browning sauce
1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Slurry of cornstarch, flour, and water (about 1 part each cornstarch and flour to 2 parts water)
1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, saltines, eggs, salt, pepper, and onion salt.
2. Form mixture into balls about 1“-1 1/2” in diameter.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs and brown on all sides.
4. Remove meatballs from skillet and repeat with remaining oil and meatballs.
5. Reduce heat to medium and stir in soup, water, browning sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
6. Bring soup mixture to a simmer and return meatballs to pan. Cover and cook about 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
7. Using a whisk, stir in slurry until gravy is of desired consistency.
8. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and onion salt.