Marinara Meatball Sandwich

March 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love meatball sandwiches, but I don’t think I ever made one myself until today. You see, the Russian approach to eating involves having a large meal in the middle of the day and a smaller one in the evening, and not the other way around. For that reason, I am rarely satiated with an American-style lunch of a light sandwich or something like that and would rather have the leftovers from yesterday’s supper. When there are no leftovers, however, I have to either go hungry or become inventive. And, because I had a whole pound of hamburger thawing out in my fridge, I decided I would make myself this (note that the term “marinara” has been used loosely here):

As usual, I sauteed carrots, onions, and garlic in sunflower oil and added tomato paste,

which was followed by deglazing the pan with some white wine (only because the bottle of white was open and the bottle of red would have needed a bottle opener).

Now I added a can of pureed tomatoes I canned last summer, and my usual assortment of spices (not visually documented here): basil, oregano, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and hot pepper flakes.

Now for the meatballs. Here’s where I went really wild. The anatomy of my meatballs included the following:

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • half a slice of white bread, crusts trimmed-off, soaked in a little bit of milk, added to the meat along with a bit of the soaking milk, but not all of it
  • 1 small grated onion (grated, never minced or anything else – you want the juice, remember?)
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed (again, not minced)
  • several T of finely minced parsley
  • an egg
  • the remainder of the previous night’s yogurty ranch (or just use plain yogurt)
  • a generous pinch of dried dill
  • salt
  • pepper

and now for the secret ingredient:

  • ground cinnamon! I often add cinnamon to my meatballs and their relatives.

After I stirred everything together, I decided to add a dash of Mc Cormick Montreal Steak Seasoning,

and shaped the mixture into… what else… balls!

I melted some butter with some oil (perhaps 1-2 T of each),

waited until the oil was really really hot, and added the meatballs,

cooking them over high heat, and flipping them over after they became well-browned on one side, repeating the same with the second side. By the way, how the heck do you flip meatballs? By using two table spoons! Works great.

Note that these many meatballs need to be cooked in two batches, if, like myself, you are using a medium skillet, so be sure to lower the heat to medium for the second batch because you are risking burning them otherwise.

In the meantime, my sauce was simmering merrily away on the neighboring burner.

I added the browned meatballs to the sauce, along with some parsley. Note that I didn’t brown the meatballs on all sides, because I felt like I got plenty of flavor from just browning the top and the bottom. Plus, life’s too short. Did say this before?

Next, I covered the pot with a lid and simmered the whole thing until the meatballs were tender, about 30 min.

And you know what’s really good on this? A sprinkling of Parmesan. Or a small mountain.

Note: Because this is such a basic recipe, wide open to interpretation, I am not doing a text-only version at the end as I usually do.

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