Cocktail Meatballs in rich red wine-tomato gravy
- Ground beef (not too lean), 3 lbs.
- Ground pork loin, 1 lb.
- Yellow onion (1 lg. Or 2 medium), finely minced
- 3 celery stalks, finely minced
- 1 carrot, finely minced
- Fresh herbs: 1 TBSP. thyme, ½ TBSP. oregano, 2 TBSP Italian parsley, minced
- Garlic, 6 cloves, finely minced
- 3 well beaten eggs
- 1 ½ c. plain breadcrumbs
- a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ c. pure olive oil (total for frying)
- 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
- 4 c. unsalted chicken broth
- ½ bottle Naggiar Cabernet Sauvignon (total for gravy)
Combine all meatball ingredients and mix very well. Take a small amount and fry like a little patty to check seasoning and consistency. Adjust as necessary. Using a small melon baller, scoop onto a sheet pan, forming the balls a bit with your hand. They will be delicate. Keep it all as cold as you can while you work.
Whisk together tomato paste and chicken broth in a bowl. Set aside for gravy.
Using a large skillet (cast iron works well) heat a small amount of the oil over medium heat. Carefully add the meatballs a few at a time, not packed too tightly. The frying should be done in 3-4 batches. Fry gently so they get some good color overall. Add 1/3 c. red wine to frying meat. Watch out for steam and allow to deglaze. Add a cup or so of the tomato-chicken broth mixture and simmer several minutes. Cooking time varies depending on size of meatballs. Pull one out and check for doneness. Transfer first batch of cooked meatballs to oven proof serving dish. Wipe out hot pan and start next batch with a bit of olive oil, fry-time, wine deglaze, and additions of broth until all meatballs are cooked.
When ready to serve, warm entire batch slowly, covered, in a 300 degree oven until hot. These are designed to be fairly straightforward in flavor and paired with Naggiar Cabernet Sauvignon, however feel free to add more seasonings to taste—a squeeze of BBQ sauce, some sweet chili sauce, a little mustard, etc. are some examples.