November 22nd, 2015

What a Throwback!


Right now, I’m sure many of you are forming your Thanksgiving plans–choosing recipes, composing grocery lists, plotting your course to the Thursday feast. I am too; we’ll be driving to DC to spend the holiday with my daughter, son-in-law, and precious grandson. Plenty to be thankful for, in that one sentence alone.

We live in uneasy times. I think we always do–it’s in matters of degrees. The impact of global unrest, of violence, fear, loss and anguish has felt extreme to me of late. We all feel it, its heaviness, its power to constrict. I remind myself to keep an open mind, and even more so, an open heart. We’re all connected, part of a great family living on this planet. An open heart keeps those darker forces at bay, keeps the creative compassionate flow vital and moving between us.

Before I sign off, and wish you all love and peace, I want to share this totally retro recipe.


It’s similar to Swedish Meatballs, although there’s no nutmeg or allspice in the mix. It’s more of a Stroganoff–the meat seasoned with grainy mustard and Worcestershire. The beefy gravy is folded with sour cream. So 1960s. I can remember my mom making these, serving them in a chafer for festive gatherings with frilly toothpicks. On the flipside, I also remember the ghastly 1970s boxes of Hamburger Helper with a stroganoff version that she would simmer in a skillet for supper.


I hadn’t thought of them, these meatballs in sour cream, which, despite their “throwback” quality, are really quite delicious. I was reminded of them by a woman in a cooking class that I teach at Magdalene House. We were discussing what we could prepare for our December class, and she asked if we could make them. (potato latkes, too!)


Why not? Last week, I resurrected my recipe, jazzed the sauce with oyster mushrooms (!) and tested ’em out at our potluck. I served the stroganoff meatballs over a bed of buttered egg noodles.

Woo-hoo! Everyone went crazy, devouring every last one. “What inspired you to make them?” “My parents used to serve these at every party.” “Oh my goodness, I haven’t eaten this in years.”


The dish is hearty and potent, triggering memory, delivering comfort and taste. Well-worth bringing back—from time to time. You might like to serve a batch at a festive gathering of your own.

Here’s my wish, which is for myself, as much as for you:
As we move into the season of plenty, but also a time of rush and stress, remember to take time for yourself and your loved ones. Savor the moments together. Breathe deeply. Express gratitude. Feel joy. Be light.




The Meatballs
3 pounds ground chuck
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 eggs
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix and mash everything together until well-incorporated. The beef mixture will feel lighter and have a glossy look when that is achieved.

Form small (as in smaller than a golf ball) meatballs (again using your hands, or a small ice cream scoop) and arrange them on baking sheets.

Place into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside while you make the sauce.

(After they cool, you could place them into freezer bags and freeze for later use.)

Makes 6 dozen meatballs

Stroganoff Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
8 ounces oyster mushrooms, torn or chopped
1/2 cup cooking sherry
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 quart beef stock
1+ cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions or chives, chopped

Place large pot on medium heat and melt the butter. Saute the onion until translucent, then add the mushrooms. Saute until golden. Add the cooking sherry and stir well. Let the sherry reduce, then add the flour. Stir vigorously to coat the mushrooms and onions.Let the flour gently “cook” for about a minute. Pour in the beef stock, stirring well. Season with salt, coarse ground black pepper. The brown gravy will begin to thicken.

Add the cooked meatballs. Simmer for 5 minutes. Fold in the sour cream, making sure it melds into the gravy. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with chopped green onions or chives.

Serve over a bed of egg noodles.
Serves a crowd–15 or more guests


Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Casseroles, Meats/Poultry, Pastas, Recipes

22 Responses to “What a Throwback!”
  1. Laura Says:

    Comfort… on so many levels! Thanks Nance!

  2. Ernesine Lawson Says:

    Safe and enjoyable travel wishes
    being sent :)
    Love this recipe
    and would have to 1/2 or 1/4 for this one….

  3. Michele | Cooking At Home Says:

    We all have many blessings to be thankful for.Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  4. Maggie Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Nancy! I hope you have safe travels and make many wonderful memories!

  5. Teresa Blackburn Says:

    Have the best of times in DC with the family.
    I so loved eating this “throwback” dish at last Third Thursday Nancy…so much so that I had two helpings! Just delicious and comforting. Drive safe.

  6. paulette Says:

    what fun! sorry to have missed tasting this — it literally makes my mouth water (okay — not great visual) — thanks, Nancy and for your comforting words…heart, heart

  7. Wendy Says:

    Thank you for the reminder—and the lovely recipe. Happy Thanksgiving to all your sweet family.

  8. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Laura, Ernestine, Michele, Maggie, Teresa, Paulette, and Wendy==

    received all your kind comments as we barreled down the highway to DC. Now happily arrived! Many thanks and many blessings to you all.

  9. Kath Says:

    Oh Nancy, this is a wonderful post on so many levels. You are right about the need to have an open heart. I love that you are teaching cookery at Magdalene House. I am glad you have arrived safe inDC and I hope you enjoy precious time with your family. Happy Thanksgiving to you from here. A very normal thursday for us here in the UK but I will think of you and your compassion. Oh and I think those meatballs look delicious.

  10. goodfoodmatters Says:

    thank you Kath!

  11. Barbara Says:

    Oh my gosh, that is sooooo true! I used to make these all the time…back in the 50’s. Everyone loved them and I always preferred “white” meat balls (and white chili); stroganoff is so retro, I am smiling. My MIL made it! Haven’t a clue where my old recipe is, am copying this. Might take it to the Book Club Christmas dinner. Wouldn’t that be a hoot?
    Re sprouts:
    Hahaha….Susan’s sprout recipe just might make Bill change his mind. I’m not a good gauge though, as I like sprouts to start with. (And amazingly, so does my family, including grandkids!)

    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, Nancy, with loving family and great food!

  12. Gerlinde@Sunnycovechef Says:

    If these meatballs are half as good as the ones in your book I’m in.
    What a wonderful post to remind us all to open our heart. I’m in Berlin right now and the ghosts of the past linger around to remind us of our history,

  13. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Barbara–I bet your bookclub get a big kick out of them—everybody at my party was so happy to revisit the old favorite.

    Hi Gerlinde–I hope you have a wonderful time in Berlin. The ghosts are there, I am sure, to serve as poignant reminders.

  14. Johanne Lamarche Says:

    Just bought egg noodles to try with my first stroganoff! Your throwback could not be more timely and the recipe I will make! Thank you for all the joy you share with the world Nancy! Enjoy your precious grandson. Much to give thanks for. Johanne

  15. Patsy Vaughan Says:

    Of all the blessings in my life, I count my friends three times. I am so happy you are on the list! Remind your grandson that he is already betrothed so no monkey business!

  16. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Happy to be on your list Patsy! The girls are already lining up for Zachary; I’ll keep the monkey business at bay for as long as I can. Hope to see you soon.

    Hi Johanne, Many thanks for your kind comment—and good luck with the stroganoff!

  17. Beth Says:

    What a fun recipe! Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, and your throwback menu!

  18. Sabrina Says:

    What a comforting looking dish! I love basically any form of meatball :)

  19. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Beth–thank you–we have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Hi Sabrina–I do too! Thanks for stopping by Good Food Matters.

  20. Tammy Says:

    Goodness! Can’t show this to the husband or he’ll be in Nashville by noon.

  21. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Ha! Tammy–I know! Next post will be something healthy…

  22. Juliana Says:

    OMG Nancy, I love stroganoff, but have never thought in using meatballs…and oyster mushrooms…this is such a creative dish…thanks for the inspiration.
    Enjoy your week :)

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