Friday, April 13, 2012

Philly Style Meatball Sandwich

My husband grew up just outside of Philadelphia, home of the cheesesteak and other hoagies ... like the meatball sandwich. We had meatball sandwiches yesterday, in honor of my in-laws wedding anniversary. Our dinner table conversation turned to memories of the Philly style family dinners and sandwiches my husband enjoyed when growing up. I've got my mother-in-law's recipe for meatballs, and what follows is a close rendition. I've lightened it up by switching from ground beef and pork to lean ground turkey. I bake these meatballs instead of cooking them on the stove top. The addition of onions, peppers, and mushrooms is an option for Philly style sandwiches. I've cooked these veggies by "sweating" them in the microwave with no additional oils, then used a generous hand with them on top of the sandwich. Finally, I use a whole grain hoagie roll. Maybe these aren't an exact replica of those meatball sandwiches from back in Philly, but these were pronounced "excellent" by my Philly born husband, and that's good enough for me.


for the meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

4 whole wheat hoagie rolls or whole wheat hot dog buns

for the tomato sauce:

up to 2 cups jarred marinara or spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery

for the vegetable toppings:

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red or green peppers
1/2 cup shopped onion

additional toppings:

1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (mozzarella and Parmesan)
2 Tbs slivered or minced fresh basil leaves

Directions: Preheat over to 400 degrees. Mix all meatball ingredients until just mixed. Form into a large square and divide into 16 equal portions. Lightly roll each portion into a meatball and place on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add opened rolls or buns to the oven, and continue cooking for 3 additional minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the buns are beginning to brown.

Place 1/2 cup of the chopped onion and 1/2 cup of diced celery in a large microwave safe container and heat on 100% power for 2 minutes. Mix the cooked vegetables with the marinara or spaghetti sauce and heat for an additional minute. Stir and continue heating for 1 minute at a time until hot.

Place the 1/2 cup of mushrooms, peppers, and onions into a microwave safe container and cook at 100% power until the onions are soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the juices from the cooked vegetables.

Assemble the meatball sandwiches by placing 3 or 4 meatballs on each roll. Top with some of the marinara sauce, 1/4 of the cooked vegetables, a sprinkle of Italian cheese, and some of the fresh basil.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Lightening family recipes can be difficult because the tastes themselves are so filled with memories. However, making a new, but similar, dish on a family holiday helps associate old memories with the new taste. These meatball sandwiches are much lighter in fat than the originals, plus have more veggies and fiber. In this case, our conversations are what bring back the memories. We acknowledge the difference in taste, but agree the new taste is just as delightful.

1 comment:

Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

I went to college at Lehigh not far outside of Phillie. We'd drive into the city sometimes on weekends (or days we wanted to skip class) and shop and eat our way through the city! I so miss their sandwiches!