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Ground Beef Goes Gourmet

Island Epicure

You start with the leanest, cleanest, grass-raised beef. You can ask the butcher to grind a pound of round steak for you. Besides its yummy flavor, each low fat serving provides 20 grams of high quality protein, 3 mg Vitamin B12, 5 mg niacin (the happiness vitamin) and a smidgeon of B1, B2, and B6, also 258 mg of potassium.

The herbs you mix into it contribute flavor and good health. The marjoram  aids digestion and the sage helps proof you against fall and winter colds and flu.

Meat Balls in Mushroom & Madeira Sauce
           4 Servings

 The Meatballs:
1 lb. ground round or leanest possible beef
1 egg, whisked
1 teaspoon crushed dried sage leaves or 1 Tablespoon slivered fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon crushed marjoram leaves  or 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Dash Rich Osborne’s Chipotle salt, optional
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced, divided

The Madeira Sauce:
½ lb. mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup coconut oil
1 large onion, wedge-sliced
2 cups hot water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons Madeira wine, or to taste
Thickening: 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or rice flour
¼ cup cold water

Mix all the meatball ingredients, including half the garlic Form balls using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop, or a soupspoon to scoop out enough of the mixture to form balls about 1 ½-inches across. Place them on parchment on a baking sheet and insert the sheet into a preheated 425 degree oven. Bake until nicely browned, about 10 minutes.

Heat coconut oil in wide, deep skillet. Brown the mushroom slices on each side. Push them to one side of the skillet and add the onion slices. Stir-cook onion slices and garlic until the onion becomes limp and glossy.

Dissolve the bouillon cubes in a Pyrex 2-cup measure. Pour this broth into the skillet with the onions. Add the meatballs. Simmer 15 minutes or until the meatballs have no pink in their centers.

Add the Madeira. Mix the starch and the ¼ cup of water. Increase the heat beneath the pan. Pour in the starch mixture while stirring the sauce. Stir-cook until the sauce clears and thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve over cooked rice, mashed potatoes, or mashed squash.