Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Meatball Sliders, Heading Your Way!

Good evening everyone! The slider, fun sized little sandwiches (typically burgers) have started to infiltrate every part of the culinary world. While they’re not a new concept, they have typically been a staple of restaurants and fast food chains. It’s only been recently that the concept has begun to make its way into the everyday kitchen.

This month’s Food Network Magazine featured an assortment of slider recipes, but one in particular caught my attention both for its creativity and versatility. It takes the common meatball and turns it into a tasty bite sized sandwich – I took this inspiration and ran with it. The result was a lot of fun to cook and eat.

The Recipe: Meatball Sliders
Original Recipe Inspired By: Food Network Magazine, January 2014 Issue

What You’ll Need:
(Serves 4)

1 Pound Ground Chuck or Sirloin
12 Dinner Rolls
½ Cup Bread Crumbs
½ White Onion (Diced fine)
3 Cloves Garlic (Crushed)
12 Ounces Marinara Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

I’ve heavily adapted the original recipe to the point where my instructions no longer follow the instructions in the magazine. As such, if you want to try the recipe the way it was originally concocted, I’d recommend checking it out in the most recent Food Network issue.

If you’ll recall, we showed you how to grind your own chuck or sirloin in a THIS post. It’s a great way to have high end beef without paying high end ground beef prices. Don’t simply replace the meat with traditional ground beef – you’ll lose a lot of the flavor simply to save a couple of minutes of prep time (It’s not worth it!)

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, bread crumbs, diced onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine the mixture until everything is evenly distributed. Using a small ice cream scoop or a couple of tablespoons, make small (tablespoon sized) balls out of the meat. You should yield between 12 and 15 meatballs. The bigger you make the balls, the fewer you’ll have (and the longer your cook time will be for each ball) adjust accordingly.

Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a large (12 inch) non stick skillet and place it over medium high heat. Bring the pan up to heat and let the oil begin to shimmer before adding the meatballs. Cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes before flipping the balls over and cooking for an additional 5 minutes. After the meatballs have been browned on the outside, add the marinara sauce to the skillet and bring the mixture to a light simmer. Reduce the heat and cover the skillet, allowing the sauce to thicken for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Place a small pinch of the mozzarella cheese on the bottom half of a dinner roll (sliced in half) then spoon a small portion of the marinara on top of the cheese. Add one meatball, topped with more cheese, then the top of the dinner roll. Repeat until all meatballs have been served. Enjoy!

The Results:

Think spaghetti and meatballs, without the spaghetti. Effectively, you have everyone’s favorite part of the traditional dish without all the pasta. These little morsels are tasty and easy to eat. I opted to add the garlic and onion INTO the meat, rather than into the sauce as the original recipe called for – which resulted in a little more flavorful meatball. I also chose to cook the marinara sauce alongside the meatballs and reduce it slightly, creating a thicker, more glaze like sauce that clung to the meatballs which was a welcome touch.

If I were to tweak this recipe, I think I’d replace the ground chuck meatballs with the crackin’ meatballs as inspired from Jamie Oliver’s recipes. Those meatballs are the pinnacle of any ball based meat we’ve ever made and would do quite well on a small dinner roll. These meatballs are perfectly fine on their own, but why settle for fine when you know there’s something better out there?

That’s all we have for you this week. We’re back next week with another set of brand new recipes. Until then,


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