Run For The Roses Country Ham Meatballs in Maple Bourbon Gravy
Like country ham, the Kentucky Derby is such an old southern tradition. There’s nothing like being there at Churchill Downs…dodging big brimmed hats while wearing one and enjoying all the delicious foods and of course, a traditional mint julep. But since trekking to the beautiful land of bluegrass isn’t always possible, plan a fun gathering of your own with some old favorites at home. County ham doesn’t always have to be tucked inside a biscuit. And what’s a party without meatballs? I think you’ll really like these… especially since you can make them ahead and freeze (uncooked or cooked) if need be, to head out of the gate really fast at party time, swimming in the best simple gravy, gussied up with Kentucky bourbon, of course!
Course Appetizer, Brunch, Gravy, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine American, North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Tailgating
Author Wendy Perry
8ouncesRays Country Ham
1lb.ground sweet Italian Sausage
2cupsherbed bread crumbs (I used Pepperidge Farm Classic)
1tall canevaporated milk*Add about half can to moisten. Use more as needed for a moist mixture.
garnish: scallion, chives, parsley or fresh herbs
3cupslow sodium/salt free chicken broth
¼cupgood maple syrup
2heaping tablespoonsspicy brown mustard
1pkg.brown gravy mix
1 pkg.roasted chicken gravy mix
lots offreshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
Chop up the ham a bit and put into food processor. Grind to a rough but not pureed texture.
Combine with remaining ingredients (except garnish).
Roll into ping-pong ball size meatballs and place 1-inch apart on the parchment paper. Bake about 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Serve in gravy.
Maple Bourbon Gravy:
In a small Dutch oven or similar heavy pot, whisk all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Once fully boiling, lower heat and continue on a low rolling boil, watching closely and whisking often until the gravy has reduced and thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
When ready to serve, heat gravy and warm meatballs on low in gravy.
Serve in small chafing pan to keep warm. Garnish with something “green” like slivers of scallion, chives, parsley or other fresh herbs.
To Freeze: Place in a single layer on tray lined with parchment or waxed paper. Once fully frozen, put them into a covered container or zippered bag. Freeze no longer than 3 months.