Spring is afoot in Oregon. If you couldn't tell by the sprouting daffodils and cherry blossoms, you can smell the thawing and turning of soil in the air, and the emergence of sugar ants on kitchen counters. But despite sun breaks that bring out t-shirts, and daylight at 7pm, it is still technically winter (at least for 3 more days), and I am not quite done enjoying brown food™.
Let's talk about brown food. Granted, it's a category that I just minted, yet still it's a category that doesn't get enough love. When I speak of brown food, I am referring to comfort dishes that are not steeped in dairy or melted cheese. Meatloaf. Salisbury steak. Franks & beans. The truth is, my craving for brown foods is not coincidental to the fact that I always craved elementary school hot lunch, and was rarely allowed to eat it. And I don't know if this actually happened but I have a memory of the local newspaper publishing the school lunch menu biweekly, so that I could strategically beg my mom to let me buy lunch on salisbury steak with mashed potato days, and not turkey and rice days.
Last week, on a mission to rotate supplies in my freezer, I found a package of Impossible Beef that I'd bought a few months back. The current wave of plant-based meat is not my favorite: I generally do not feel very good after eating it. But it is savory, and savory is the essence of brown food, and brown food was what I was craving. I decided to make Swedish meatballs but in lieu of a cream sauce, concoct a savory brown gravy made even more mouthwatering with the addition of Bobbie's Boat Sauce right before the roux building stage.
The recipe for "Sailor's Meatballs" is open to revision and improvisation. I had some mushrooms that needed to be used pronto, and I decided to "beef" up the gravy with them. If you are avoiding meat, you could do this with all of the current substitutions - though fair warning it will probably be your sodium intake for a week. I left just enough egg noodles to make this with the Carman Ranch ground beef, also in my freezer, which is next on the list for rotation.