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Meatballs With Mustard & Whiskey Sauce

4 slices packaged white bread, crustless and crumbled
1/2 cup milk for soaking
1 large gg
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup finely diced onion cooked in 1 tablespoon oil until soft
1 3/4 pounds ground beef chuck, chicken or turkey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs for coating
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
20 ounces white mushrooms, stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup Scotch whiskey
1/4 cup coarse-grain mustard
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/4 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch rounds
2 teaspoons sugar
3 leeks, (1/2 pound), white parts only, cut into 3/4-inch rounds
3 stalks celery, (6 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch lengths
3 parsnips, (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch lengths
1/3 cup minced parsley, for garnish
Boiled potatoes or cooked rice for serving

If you substitute ground turkey or chicken, then season the poultry
mix with thyme and sage and omit the coriander

Soak the crumbled bread in the milk for 15 minutes or until softened.
Squeeze out the excess moisture and transfer the soaked bread to
a food processor along with the egg, thyme, rosemary and coriander.
Process until combined, then add the cooked onions, 2/3's of the
meat, salt and pepper to taste, and process until blended. Transfer
the mixture to a bowl, add the remaining meat and mix with your
hands. Roll the meat into thirty two 1 1/2-inch meatballs, then
roll the meatballs in the dry bread crumbs, coating all sides.

In a 6- to 7-quart casserole, over moderate heat, heat the vegetable
oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. In two batches, brown the
meatballs making sure they are crisp on all sides. When they are
brown, remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the shallots
to the remaining fat in the casserole and saut for a couple of
minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saut
for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add the whiskey and boil,
scraping up the juices on the bottom of the casserole into the
whiskey and simmer for a minute or so or until the whiskey has
almost evaporated. Add the mustard and the flour and cook for a
minute. Add 2 cups of the beef broth and bring it to a simmer,
whisking all the while. Add the bay leaf and simmer for a couple
of minutes. Adjust the seasoning and return the meatballs to the
sauce (the dish can be made a day or two in advance up to this
point). Simmer the meatballs, uncovered, to heat them and finish
cooking them while you make the vegetable garnish.

In a separate 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, heat 2 tablespoons
of the remaining butter. Add the carrots, sugar and the remaining
1/4 cup of beef broth. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or
until partially cooked. Add the leeks, celery and parsnips and
3/4 cup of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes longer or until
the vegetables are tender. Uncover the skillet, evaporate the
liquid over high heat until the vegetables are glazed. Add the
remaining tablespoon of butter and season with salt and pepper to
taste.

Discard the bay leaf. Spoon the meatballs onto a plate and top
with mushrooms and gravy. Scatter glazed vegetables over the
meatballs and garnish with the parsley. Serve with boiled potatoes
or rice.

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