Are you a fan of Diner Dining? I don’t mean those trendy Nostalgic Chic Diners, but real roadside, truck stop, strip mall diners? When it comes to down home cooking, nothing beats those hidden gems.
Head south from here to Turlock and a hole-in-the-wall café called AJ’s. There you will find the most amazing burgers. You can tell just by looking, that beef patty is a fresh ground hand-formed burger. And that first bite confirms this. Head east to Oakdale and it’s Cahoots. The Corned Beef Hash is over the top corned beef with some shredded potatoes thrown in for good measure. All across America in little towns from coast to coast you can get the most amazing Blue Plate Specials that are like home cooked hugs.
When I’m craving that down to earth goodness that only a Blue Plate can deliver, I tend to cook up Salisbury Steaks. Don’t ask me why. There’s just something about a Salisbury Steak smothered in Onion Gravy with Mashed Potatoes and a side of corn. I don’t know what it is, but I really love it. So when I came across a recipe for Salisbury Meatballs I knew I had to give it a try.
I’ve never made meatballs that were cooked in a sauce raw from the start. I’ve always baked meatballs or cooked them in a skillet first, then plunged the meatballs into the sauce. Or made the sauce in the same skillet, after the meatballs have been seared. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from slow-cooker meatballs. Surprise! This was good. Down home, Blue Plate Diner Special Good!
Slow-Cooker Salisbury Steak Meatballs over Mashed Potatoes
Salisbury Steak Meatballs
1 Yellow Onion
8 oz White Mushrooms
1 Egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Beef Stock
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 cup plain Panko Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Steak Sauce
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1 tablespoons Cold Water
Peel and thinly slice onion, set aside. Clean and thinly slice mushrooms, set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg and set aside.
Spray 5- or 6-quart oval slow cooker with cooking spray.
Melt butter. Mix melted butter, tomato paste and salt in slow cooker. Add onions and mushrooms; toss to coat. Stir in beef stock.
In large bowl, mix ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, steak seasoning, soy sauce and steak sauce. Shape into about 24 (1-1/2-inch) meatballs. Place meatballs in slow cooker on top of vegetable mixture.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting for about 3-1/2 hours or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked. Once cooked, stir meatballs into the stock.
In small bowl, whisk cornstarch and cold water to create a slurry. Quickly stir slurry into slow cooker; cover. Increase to High heat setting; cook uncovered for 10 minutes more or until gravy thickened.
While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the mashed potatoes. Use your favorite mashed potato recipe, instant potatoes or try these simple potatoes.
Simple Mashed Potatoes
3 lbs Russet Potatoes
1/4 cup Milk
4 tablespoons Butter
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Peel potatoes, if desired. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a large pot with just enough water to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle water with a little salt if desired.
Bring potatoes to a full boil. Lower heat to maintain a rolling boil without boiling over. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Drain well. Return potatoes to the pot, dry potatoes of excess moisture over low heat, about 2 minutes, shaking pan to keep potatoes from sticking.
Heat milk in the microwave or in a small pan. Add half of butter, one tablespoon at a time, blend until melted into the hot milk. Set aside.
Using a masher, mash potatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Pour warm buttery milk over the potatoes. Whip until smooth. Keep mashed potatoes in the pot until ready to serve.
To serve, spread mashed potatoes out on individual warm dinner plates. Top with meatballs in their gravy sauce. Serve and enjoy.