Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slow Cooked Burgundy Beef Meatballs

Several years ago I discovered Rachel Ray.  Not literally, as in, I'm who found her and made her famous.  I mean, I found her show, "30 Minute Meals", on the Food Network.  I learned how to cook from her, mostly.  I did learn some things from my Mom and  Sister, but at a young age I was not interested in cooking, so foolishly, I didn't seek to learn from them.  Now, I want to  learn from them, from Rachel Ray and from anyone who is willing to give me recipes along with some instructions as needed.  One of my favorite, "30 Minute Meal" recipes is the Beef Burgundy, or Beef Bourguignonne, as is the official title.
Recently I was looking through a cook book and found a lovely slow cooker recipe for Meatballs in red wine.  That started the wheels turning, and I have combined the two recipes to come up with Burgundy Beef Meatballs.  My son liked the egg noodles, but not the meatballs.  He likes the regular meatballs with spaghetti sauce, but not so much the burgundy meatballs.  He is, after all, just 4 so I wasn't too surprised the flavor's didn't appeal to him.  My husband and I, however, devoured them, last night as well as tonight.  They taste even better when allowed to sit over night.  The meatball recipe I will give makes a lot of meatballs, so I used some for the spaghetti dinner one night then froze the remainder of them.
For the slow cooker, or crock pot, recipe you'll have to plan on eating this the next day.  The reason being, the meatballs need to be frozen in order to be able to cook them all day without turning them into golf balls.  It's worth it, trust me, I'm the queen of not wanting to take more than a few minutes or an hour to cook, much less one whole day, but you'll be glad you did!  Apparently, I'm also the queen of run-on sentences.

I'll give an alternative at the bottom though, if you don't want to wait.


2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups regular bread crumbs
11/2  teaspoon cilantro leaves
1 large shallot finely diced
1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 strips thick cut bacon
2 tablespoons flour
Beef stock

Mix the all the ingredients together (except bacon, flour and stock)
Line a baking dish with foil
Shape into 'golf ball' sized balls, you'll want about 30 meatballs for the slow cooker
Place in prepared pan (no need to grease or use oil)
Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the middle

While the meatballs are baking:

Fry the bacon in a skillet until crispy
Remove and place on paper towel lined plate
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease
Keep heat on medium, add the flour and stir until combined and a lovely shade of light brown being careful not to burn
Add the beef stock 1/2 a cup at a time and stir with whisk until there are no lumps and the gravy starts to thin a bit
You don't want a very thick gravy
Crumble the bacon into the gravy
After the meatballs are cooked through, add them to the gravy and let them cool
Once cool, place the meatballs AND gravy in a zip lock baggie, or freezer safe container and place in the freezer overnight

The next day, or whenever you are ready to make the Burgundy Beef Meatballs, place the frozen meatballs with the gravy in your slow cooker and add the following:

1 bag Pearl Onions
4 sprigs of Thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Bay leaves
2 1/2 cups red wine
1 1/2  tsp dried Oregano
1 cup Sliced mushrooms (preferably not from a can)
2 cups of beef stock
1 cup water

Cook on high for 4 -5 hours or on low for 8 hours
Serve with egg noodles

If you don't want to wait overnight then simply add the above ingredients into the skillet with, a very thin, gravy. Add the meatballs, allow to simmer together for about 30 minutes, watching carefully that the gravy doesn't burn, or thicken too much.  Serve over egg noodles.

Store left overs together with the egg noodles, overnight in the fridge, you will love the way the flavors melt into each other.  Divine!

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