Meatball Hoagie

Meatball Hoagie for National Meatball Day

March 9 is National Meatball Day and what a glorious day to celebrate!

Check out our video segment here on WFLA Daytime TV Show.

Some form of balls of meat “Meatballs” – although not referred to as such until recently – has been in existence at least since the Roman ages and as long as written recipes have been in existence.  Like many favorite comfort foods, meatballs were firsts made out of necessity – from what was left – in this case, scraps of meat and day old bread.  Necessity being the mother of invention – it seems many cultures independently created these culinary delights.  Whether you call them Meatballs, Polpette, Kibbeh, Albondigas or Swedish, they are delicious and satisfying in many languages and cultures.  Let’s celebrate National Meatball Day.

As food historians can testify, the term “meatball” is fairly new, most likely created in melting pot America to refer to the classic Italian-American version so often tucked into gooey melty subs which we at Sandwich America love, or mixed in with spaghetti for the American dish Spaghetti and meatballs.

The great thing about meatballs is once you get the basics down, you can adjust them for any type of meat, any flavor, or any theme that strikes your fancy.

Here is a great general formula to follow:

General Ratios for Great Meatballs

  • 1 pound meat (beef, lamb, veal, pork, or combination of meats)
  • ½ cup aromatics (onions and garlic sautéed)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup bread soaked in milk
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper

Then add your flavors.  We offer two variations below.  Here are some tips to follow as you make your meatballs.

General Tips for Meatballs

A Dry Uncooked Meatball Will Lead to a Dry Cooked Meatball

Mix your binder (bread) with milk.  The bread soaks up the liquid and helps make the meatball light and fluffy.  If your meatball is to dense when you do your test cook (see below) then don’t be shy about adding a little more liquid – the mixture should be a bit wet if the meatballs are to stay moist.

 Be Gentle

Don’t use a mixer or a spoon – use the best kitchen tools in existence, your hands and mix until barely combined.  Be gentle, you don’t want to over mix – that can make the meatballs tough.

 Bigger is not Necessarily Better

If the meatballs are too big they may not stay put together or the outside may be overcooked before the inside is cooked.  Think golf ball and you can’t go wrong.

 Always Make a Tester Meatball Before Cooking the Whole Batch

Once they are all cooked you really can’t make any adjustments so be sure to cook a test meatball.  If they fall apart add more binder, it’s too heavy add more liquid, if it doesn’t have the flavor you want, add some more salt or spices.  Don’t be shy with the flavor.

Two Meatball Variations

Here is a recipe for lamb meatballs highlighted on National Meatball Day on WFLA Daytime TV Show.  We love our Aussie Grass fed lamb for its lean, clean flavor.  It works perfectly in this recipe.

Aussie Lamb Meatballs

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  • 1 pound ground Aussie Lamb
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup grated onion (use a cheese grater or a food processor to get it nice and fine – this will add great moisture to your meatballs).
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup day old bread ripped into small pieces soaked in milk (if you don’t have day old bread just pop into the oven until slightly hardened but not toasted).
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon fresh mint chopped up
  • Flour for dusting

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic and cook until softened – do not brown.   Set aside and cool.  Put the lamb in a large mixing bowl.  Squeeze excess milk from bread and put bread in lamb.  (do not discard the extra milk in case you need to add a bit of moisture to the meatballs later).  Add in the onions and garlic.  Beat the egg and add in the egg.  Add in the oregano, coriander, lemon zest, mint, a good pinch of salt, and a couple turns of the pepper grinder.

Using your hands, gently combine everything until smooth.  Form into small meatballs, about the size of golf balls, no bigger.  Heat the ¼ cup olive over medium heat.  Dredge each meatball in flour and shake off excess.  Cook in pan rotating sides until cooked through – about 15 minutes.

You can serve these warm or at room temperature.  We love them on a Kings Hawaiian Roll with some tzatziki and some fresh pickled red onions and jalapenos or on flatbread with tatziki, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and mint.

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 Aussie Grass-Fed Beef and Pork Meatballs

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • ½ pound Aussie grass-fed ground beef (Aussie grass-fed beef is lean with a strong beef flavor and it is our favorite paired ith ground pork as the two provide a nice contrast)
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup grated onion (use a cheese grater or a food processor to get it nice and fine – this will add a great moisture to your meatballs).
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup day old bread ripped into small pieces soaked in milk (if you don’t have day old bread just pop into the oven until slightly hardened but not toasted)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian Parsley
  • Flour for dusting

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic and cook until softened – do not brown.   Set aside and cool.  Put the pork and beef in a large mixing bowl.  Squeeze excess milk from bread and put bread in with meat (do not discard the extra milk in case you need to add a bit of moisture to the meatballs later).  Add in the onions and garlic.  Beat the egg and add in the egg.  Add in the oregano, red pepper flakes, parmesan, parsley, a small pinch of salt (remember the parmesan will also add salt – you can add more salt after your test meatball if you need more salt), and a couple turns of the pepper grinder.

Using your hands, gently combine everything until smooth.  Form into small meatballs, about the size of golf balls, no bigger.  Heat the ¼ cup olive over medium heat.  Dredge each meatball in flour and shake off excess.  Cook in pan rotating sides until cooked through – about 15 minutes.

These can be made ahead and freeze great.  We love them for a last minute meatball sub on a busy night.  Just toast some hoagie rolls, add in three meatballs, your favorite jarred marinara (yes it works great here) a couple slices of provolone and you have a great hot dinner in no time at all.

Happy Meatball Day!!

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