It’s a #SundaySupper Father’s Day Feast honoring the main man of the family, paired wines from one of our favorite families – Gallo Family Vineyards. Take the best part of French Onion soup – the rich caramelized onions and ooey, gooey cheese – and turn it into a true “man meal” by making French Onion Soup au Gratin Stuffed Meatballs.
French Onion Soup au Gratin Stuffed Meatballs
My parents got divorced when I was only about five years old. Strangely, most of my food memories are of the snacks and treats that I only had when I was with dad. There are the memories of polishing off an entire bag of Cheese Doodles, splitting a sleeve of Chips Ahoy cookies with a single glass of milk for dunking, sneaking popcorn and soda from home into the movie theater, stirring cook & serve pudding over the stove to make (and devour) pudding pie, and picking up a giant bagel loaded with an obscene amount of cream cheese and a carton of chocolate milk for breakfast on the ride to school Monday morning before I headed back home to with my (slightly) healthier mom. I think many little kids of divorced parents get spoiled a bit when they go visit the parent they don’t live with.
But I know my dad fed me meals, too. Though the funny thing is that only two stand out in my mind (well except for that one time he tricked me into eating an elk burger – but I wasn’t going to recreate that). One is hot dogs, “Campfire” Potatoes, corn on the cob, and S’Mores when we spent summer evenings around the fire pit in his backyard. The other was our cold weather favorite – grilled cheese and French Onion Soup au Gratin. Because, you know, can you really have too much bread and cheese in one meal? I think not.
French Onion Soup (albeit from a can), gently simmered until hot, then poured into crocks, topped with toast and plenty of mozzarella cheese (not traditional, but that’s how Dad made it), and put under the broiler until it bubbled and browned. I eagerly awaited those crocks being removed from the oven and placed on the table so that I could pierce my spoon through the gooey layers. I would scoop up a perfect bite with some of each component, drawing it towards my open mouth, thin strands of cheese slowly stretching their way from the bowl until I pursed my lips around the spoon and broke them off, sighing with delight as the aromas and flavors enveloped me in warmth and comfort and love.
Since the weather is getting warmer, I am married to Mr. I (Pretend to) Hate Soup, and Dad lives in North Carolina so wasn’t around to enjoy it with me, I didn’t want to just make French Onion Soup. I wanted to reinvent it into a manly man meal. What’s more “manly man” than meatballs? So I caramelized some onions with Gallo Family Pinot Noir, and stuffed them with a cube of mozzarella cheese inside the meatballs. After browning, they were covered in a rich sauce (almost a gravy, but not quite so thick and heavy) of red wine and beef stock, and baked in the oven until they were cooked though and the cheese became a pocket of melty deliciousness. And of course I couldn’t leave off the au Gratin, so the entire pan was covered in more mozzarella and placed under the broiler to get that perfectly browned cap of toasty cheese.
Three of the most important guys in my life – The Hubby, The Bug and Baby Smiles – went crazy for these meatballs. I might have had one more than I really should have, too. I only wish I could have shared them with my dad. But I’ll be sure to send him this recipe if he wants to make them, and I know what will be on the menu for his next visit.
Gallo knows all about the importance of family and the meals that bring us together, and they want to help us honor Dad with special recipes just for him. Learn more about the wines of Gallo Family Vineyards, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, and check out the store locator to try some of their wines yourself.
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And check out all of today’s amazing recipes that honor all of the special Dads in our lives at the bottom of this post! Make sure you pair these with their Pinot Noir or Cafe Zinfandel for a truly special meal.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
What is your dad’s specialty?
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- For the onions:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
- ½ Tablespoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup beef broth
- ¼ cup red wine (I used Gallo Family Pinot Noir)
- 1 ½ lbs ground beef
- ¼ cup bread crumbs or ground oats (gluten free, if needed)
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese (about 1-2 oz into sixteen approximately half-inch cubes, to stuff the meatballs, the remainder shredded)
- ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish, optional
- 1 ¾ cup beef broth
- ¼ cup red wine (I used Gallo Family Pinot Noir)
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium, add onions, salt & pepper, cook 15-20 minutes, stirring frequenlty or until caramelized.
- Add thyme, sauté for minute or two, then add the wine and beef broth.
- Reduce until very little liquid remains.
- Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a large bowl, and gently combine with your hands.
- Divide the meat mixture into sixteen equal pieces.
- Take one piece of the meat mixture and flatten slightly into a patty. Place about a half tablespoon of the onions and one cube of cheese in the center of the patty and wrap the meatball around the onions and cheese, sealing as best you can. Repeat with the remaining meat, onions, and cheese cubes.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour over the meatballs. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. If you are not using an oven-safe skillet, transfer to a casserole dish before pouring over the sauce.
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the meatballs and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through, then place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
Here are some more meaty man meals for the special guys in our lives…
Father’s Day Salads and Main Dishes:
- Avocado and Quinoa Salad by Ruffles & Truffles
- Baked Lentil Chilaquiles Casserole by Shockingly Delicious
- Barbecue Chicken with Pinot Noir Blueberry Sauce by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Chicken in a Caramelized Onion Wine Sauce by Family Foodie
- Filet Mignon with Mushrooms and Pinot Noir Sauce by Hip Foodie Mom
- French Onion Soup au Gratin Stuffed Meatballs by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Southwestern Zinfandel Glaze by Cooking On The Ranch
- Jambalaya Kabobs by Foxes Love Lemons
- Man Burgers Stuffed with Pinot Noir Caramelized Onions by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Marinated Flank Steak by The Foodie Army Wife
- Mushroom Topped Pinot Noir Burgers by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pinot Noir Glazed Salmon by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Pinot Noir Mushroom Reduction Sauce with Grilled T-Bone Steak by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Red Wine Meatball Subs by Momma’s Meals
Father’s Day Sweets and Treats:
- Angel Food Cake Smores Skewers by Melanie Makes
- Cafe Zinfandel Cake & Pinot Noir Quinoa by NinjaBaking.com
- Cherry Pinot Noir Pie by girlichef
- Chocolate Decadence with Cafe Zinfandel Whipped Cream and Raspberry Sauce by Desserts Required
- Hot Fudge Pudding Cake by Magnolia Days
- Pinot Noir Dark Chocolate Truffles by Alida’s Kitchen