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Order Up: Beachside Grill

With the holidays right around the corner, it seems like an appropriate time to review Beachside Grill, a retro bar and restaurant in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea whose specialty is Sunday gravy. Beachside's version is chock-full of tender pork and Italian sausage, and while it's hard to take it over your mama's version, it's a suitable substitute. Hit the jump for an excerpt and for one of my favorite, simply gravy recipes.

There's no one way to make the brick-red stew that Italian-Americans have come to know as Sunday gravy. There's only the way your mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, or sister made it -- the way she stood over the stove, as if by ritual, and slowly gilded the essence of meatballs, pork, or sausage into a bubbling sea of crushed tomatoes. Even the word gravy (never call it sauce) suggests something so deeply soulful that simply repeating it recalls something formative.



This familial model is so strong that it becomes the basis for any comparison. I remember my aunt's gravy fondly: She browned garlicky, bread-crumb-filled meatballs before adding them to the chunky tomato bath, and after hours inside, they would fall apart into succulent pieces. My fiancée's mother complements her meatballs and sausage with bits of diced green pepper. And in lieu of freshly chopped garlic or onion, she uses powdered versions. I love that gravy too.

My future mother-in-law's gravy is so simple to make, but I do love it. It's a completely "one pot" recipe that anyone can master. Here's a quick rundown:
  • Two large (32 oz.) cans of pureed whole tomatoes
  • One small can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • Two tablespoons sugar
  • One tablespoon salt
  • One tablespoon black pepper
  • One teaspoon each onion and garlic powder
  • Half a green bell pepper, diced
  • One and a half pounds of Italian sausage
  • One pound of meatballs (recipe follows)
Add all ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat, simmering for four to five hours. Done!

Meatballs
  • One pound of ground beef
  • Half a green bell pepper, diced
  • One teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder
  • Two large eggs
  • One teaspoon of salt
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form into inch-thick balls and allow to set in the fridge for half an hour. Done!

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John Linn

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