Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meatballs Carbonade

I haven’t posted in my Kitchen and Cooking tab yet, so I thought I would start with what I made last night. I got this recipe from some old books my husband bought years ago at Value Village (he used to work there and we still have issues that he just has to go there every time we visit the city, but we never seem to get time to visit the book and bible store. I sing and it’s the only place to buy soundtracks for church).

Okay, sorry, back to the point of this blog. If you ever come across a Better Homes and Gardens recipe book volume I would strongly encourage you to pick it up. It isn’t fancy cooking. It relies on canned goods, and powdered boullions, and dried herbs and spices (who buys fresh anyways?). But it is good simple, family cooking. I’ve used dozens of recipes from them and this is one I found for meatballs that isn’t like totally awesome, but it’s really good. This one is from BH&G Beef Recipes. I tried it because I had non-alcoholic beer that I wanted to use up (I also use it in my fondue broth that I’ll have to post another time), and I remembered at a night shift potluck years ago a co-worker brought a beer-based meatball sauce that was awesome. It should be a requirement at potlucks to bring copies of the recipe your making, don’t ya think? I’m thinking hers had BBQ sauce too and who knows maybe I’ll be able to mimic that some day. Anyways, I’ve tried this recipe a couple of times and last night tasted the best. I’ll include the main recipe and little alterations I made which I think make it taste better. The alterations to the ground beef mixture are ones I got from another BH&G cookbook called Barbecue Recipes in a recipe for Barbecued Beef Burgers. Makes the most moist, awesome handmade burgers ever.

First a little history on Carbonade. And you thought you were just getting a recipe. I thought Carbonade was a dish that contained bacon (like an Italian Carbonara) but it is actually a Spanish word for a Belgium dish that contains beef, onions and beer with thyme and bay leaf for seasoning (thanks Wikipedia). This recipe doesn’t have bay leaf which may be a nice addition, but it does add bacon. Cow and pig. . . mmmm. Now for what you’ve all been waiting for: The Recipe . . .

Meatballs Carbonade


Items in brackets are alterations from the main recipe.

  • 3 slices of bacon (4)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 12-oz can of beer or 1 1/2 cups (355ml can)
  • (2 tbsp. each of milk and ketchup if not adding beer to meatballs)
  • 1 lb. ground beef


  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (1 large)
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour (2 tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. instant beef boullion powder
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar (1 tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar (1 tbsp.)
  • (2 tbsp. ketchup)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
  • (1 bayleaf)
  • 2 tbsp. snipped parsley for garnish

In medium skillet cook bacon till crisp; crumble and set aside, reserving drippings. In bowl combine 1/4 cup of the beer (or milk and ketchup), egg, bread crumbs, 3/4 tsp. salt, and pepper; add ground beef and mix well. Shape meat mixture in to 24 meat balls. Brown on all sides in bacon drippings. Transfer meat balls to 1 1/2 quart casserole.

In same skillet cook onions til golden; stir in flour. Add remaining beer, boullion, brown sugar, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, thyme, and dash pepper. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Pour over meatballs. Cover and bake at 350 deg. for 45 minutes. Top with parsley and crumbled bacon just before serving (and remove bay leaf).

My notes:  -I just leave the bacon in the pan and mix it in with the sauce for more flavor. -I didn’t use beer in the meatballs as they were premade. They will be too messy with both the beer and the added milk and ketchup, so I would choose one or the other.  Use the milk and ketchup for regular meatballs in other recipes.  -I mix the flour and remaining sauce ingredients in a blender or Magic Bullet. -I added ketchup to the sauce for a little color and flavor. -My meatballs were nearly cooked before I put them in the oven so they were only in there 20 minutes or so.

PS. I tried everything I could think of to make a printer-friendly, 4x6 recipe card but I'm not techie enough to figure it out. My best advice is to highlight and select the recipe and then click "selection" under the print window before printing.

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