These Cheat’s Baked Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy have a few tricks up their sleeves that make them a truly easy weeknight dinner.
First and foremost: The meatballs are actually pork sausages squeezed out of their casings into little balls. Hearty mushrooms are roasted in the oven with leeks and onions until caramelised. Then the “meatballs” are added, before you finally add seasoned broth to finish the gravy. Such a delicious dinner with so much flavor – especially good served over creamy mashed potatoes!
I feel like we can never have too many easy dinners in our repertoire, can we? I, for one, live for anything that packs a flavour punch… But lacks in dishes, time and hasslery.
While homemade meatballs usually do mean some form of hasslery, this particular recipe skips all the lengthy and annoying bits. This is the cheat’s way to a meatball dinner. Easy, yet incredibly delicious. With the most delicious gravy. All cooked in a single dish, in the oven, no hasslery involved at all. You’re welcome.
A little music for the cook?
Alas, one cannot cook without the right tune. And who better to accompany this incredible cheatery than the wonderful Edith Piaf? Because I definitely have zero regrets about all of the shortcuts in this recipe.
Now let’s make meatballs
Tend to the vegetables first – just slice the lot, toss on a large rimmed baking tray with oil, salt and seasoning and roast in the oven until they’re starting to caramelise.
No colour, no flavour. Be brave and leave them in until they’re truly starting to look roasted, don’t take them out as they’re still pale.
While those are doing their thing, shape your meatballs. Just use a few good quality pork sausages and squeeze out meatball-sized bits with the help of a spoon… or your hands, if you can take the rather odd sensation.
Doing it by hand feels like a cross between milking a cow and doing something a bit more unsavoury, you get the picture, but maybe you’re into it so I won’t be the one to tell you off.
Once those, erm, balls are shaped… just pop them onto the tray with the roasted veg and place them back in the oven for another good 15 minutes.
Finally, pour over the broth seasoned with a few little bits and bobs. Two things about this: The flour is there to thicken the gravy, the seedless bramble preserve to cut the richness of the dish.
I don’t recommend leaving out either, even if the preserve sounds a little too posh to be around pork sausage. I promise it’s exactly right. Either way, finish the bake and then devour your meal!
I do like to stir a little soured cream into the gravy, for some tang and extra creaminess. But I’ll leave this decision up to you entirely – use it, don’t use it, serve it on the side. Whatever your wee heart desires!
Now on to the fun part…
What I’m not leaving up to you, though, is the side dish. Don’t you dare forget to whip up a bit of mash somewhere along the way. Otherwise you’ll end up mad at yourself all night long. Been there, done that…
And this really is a dinner you won’t want to ruin by neglecting the potatoes. Because it truly is just as delicious a cheat as a little fudging on a maths test was back in the day – just without the angst around getting caught by the teacher. Ah, the gleeful bliss!
More cosy comfort food
Finally, if you try this recipe: Please leave a review in the comments below! I also love seeing your photos on Instagram – just tag me @hobandlarder
Cheat’s Baked Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
- 2 small onions (halved and thinly sliced)
- 250 g mushrooms (thinly sliced)
- 1 small leek (cleaned and thinly sliced (white part only; optional))
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt, pepper and ground nutmeg (to taste)
- 500 g good quality pork sausages ((1 pound))
- 350 ml beef broth ((1 1/2 cups))
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons seedless bramble preserves
- 1 tablespoon flour
- creme fraiche or sour cream (to serve (optional))
- Heat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place onions, mushrooms and leek (if using) in a large roasting tin (mine was 22x33cm/9×13 inches). Toss with oil, salt, pepper and a pinch or two of ground nutmeg. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize.
- In the meantime, open one end of the sausage casings and press out "meatballs".
- Once baking time is up, nestle sausage "meatballs" between vegetables. Increase oven temperature to 220°C (425°F) and bake for 15 more minutes.
- Whisk together broth, Worcestershire sauce, preserves and flour. Pour over meatballs and finish baking for 15 minutes. Add soured cream to taste, then serve over mashed potatoes.
- I make the “meatballs” about the size of 2 teaspoons, if you make them too large they will need longer in the oven.
- If gravy seems too thick, carefully stir in more broth until you reach your desired consistency.
- You can use “normal” seedless blackberry jam in place of the bramble preserves, or Lingonberry jam if you don’t mind the bits.