Wednesday, June 24, 2009

holy meatball.

This isn't the first time I've posted about meatball sandwiches. Frankly, it might not be the last. Dude, have you HAD a meatball sandwich lately? God, they're so good.

score

This post is here mainly to talk about this bread. Have you ever had banh mi? These sandwiches have only recently been brought to my attention, and now whenever I have the chance, I like to stop into a local bakery that sells them at lunch time and meet my husband for a few bites of awesome spicy pork. Yesterday we were lucky to both be free at the same time, and when we stood there chatting with the hilarious little girl who works behind the counter, I reminded him that we had meatball subs on our menu for dinner. He snagged this bag of rolls, the same ones they use for their sandwiches, and brought them home.

meatwad

He stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up some ground beef and some pork sausage, mixed them together in a giant bowl with bread crumb, fresh basil, diced onions & garlic. (AND THIS REVELATION: HE SAUTEED THE ONIONS BEFORE ADDING THEM TO THE MEATBALL. WHAT?! THIS SERIOUSLY NEVER CROSSED MY MIND BUT IT IS QUITE CLEARLY THE ANSWER TO SUPERIOR MEATBALLS. They were lightly caramelized and perfect when he mixed them in, and as a result the meatballs were moist, the texture was flawless, and I am never adding raw onions to meat again. He also admitted to me that he picked up this tip NOT from his fancy culinary education, but from a certain, slightly douche-y tv chef that I will not name who may or may not be Tyler Florence, hahaha)

meatwad2

Mush the meat together in a bowl with all the other stuff, then form into balls and fry in a pan with oil, adding a splash of red wine halfway through. Brown the balls on all sides, then put a lid on the pan to steam them up and help them cook faster. When they seem to be nearly done, dump in some pasta sauce and turn the heat down to a low simmer.

meatwad3

Here's my son screwing around with my plate. Do kids ever stop TOUCHING EVERY SINGLE THING THEY SEE? I know the answer is no, but I felt like begging the universe for an answer anyway.

awesome

I mean, the meatballs were obviously the star of the show- mixing in pork sausage keeps them moist and adds tons of flavor. I like it when the pasta sauce cooks down into that dark, sludgy red goo, streaked with grease, not gonna lie. But, aside from all that goodness, these banh mi loaves held up FANTASTICALLY to all that messy goodness, while still being fluffy and lightly crisp on the outside. If you have a Vietnamese bakery in your neighborhood, see if you can get your hands on these loaves, they're a mixture of wheat & rice flour that makes them so light- I've even heard people describe them as "shattering" when you bite into them. It's amazing to me that they manage to hold that much sauce without falling apart, but you don't have to tear them to death with your teeth to get a bite, either. Oh, and that bag of 5 loaves cost 2 effing bucks, WHAT THE HELL? Portlanders, get thee to An Xuyen, order the pulled pork (or pork with lemongrass, or meatball) sandwich for a whopping $2.75 (or was it $2.25? either way, under 3 bucks) and grab a bag of these bad boys. And a steam bun. And chat up the little girl behind the counter, because she's my new best friend.

24 comments:

Eliana said...

This looks fantastic. Even though the meatballs are the star here I always feel a sandwich is more about the bread.

Blue is Bleu said...

I believe I just drowned in my own drool. That looks unbelievably good!!! And to saute the onions before adding? Brilliant! I'm going to do that with meatballs, meatloaf etc from now on! Even though it came from an undesirable source lol!

Jillian said...

Wow.

Nancy said...

you just made my mouth water..thanks! ;)

Lizzie said...

Oh man oh man. Banh mi AND meatball sandwiches mentioned in the same post? Too good--except I can't decide which I want first, and having both sounds like a little too much, even for me. If only...

zoe said...

Incredible tip with the caramelized onions!! Awesome!

catastrophysicist said...

They also sell this bakery's bread at Fubonn. I bought a loaf of their brioche a while ago, and it was killer.

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

lizzie, omg whatever- we had banh mi for lunch and then went home and had meatball subs for dinner. then i had another meatball sub for lunch today. i think i need to take a break from meat, actually, guhhhhh.

Karencilla said...

that looks delicious Alice!! i am so hungry right now!

whatmegmakes said...

I love meatball sandwiches! I've always sauteed my veggies before putting them into the meatballs. I like nutmeg, carrots, and onion in my meatballs along with spicy pork sausage... mmmm... I think I've figured out Sunday night dinner...

T and R said...

Awesome. Totally love banh mi and meatballs.

Alicia, have you ever had An Xuyen's chocolate creampuffs? Seriously good. I'm sure you can pick up them at various places but I know for sure the Vietnamese grocery on Killingsworth (near PCC Cascade) has them.

The Daily Dose said...

Gah, I can't believe I'm a vegetarian! That look soooo goooood. ::drool::

Vanessa Clark said...

I've been buying their Japanese style breads at Uwajimaya every now and then for a while now. Also, I haven't had Banh Mi in years and I've been craving it for months... I will definitely be taking a trip to Portland sometime in the near future.

laura said...

Can't beat meat ball subz, dude!

They always wind up on the dinner table after spaghetti night. Here's my recipe (if you can call it that): http://www.clovesandcream.com/2009/03/meatball-sub.html

missamay said...

Would you post the recipe for the meatballs? They look tasty!!!

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

missamay- that wasn't enough of a recipe for you? it's just meat, bread crumb, basil, lightly caramelized onions & garlic. smash together + make a ball.

melroska said...

don't you hate it when awful tv chefs have great tips/recipes that you have to use? this is always happening to me with giada dilaurentis

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

yes, i DO hate that. rachel ray vaguely annoys me on principle but i have picked up so many awesome tips for her, it's terrible. my favorite one is the 'garbage bowl.' she always keeps a big bowl on the counter to throw all her food scraps in while she's cooking, and it keeps the counter top SO CLEAN. it really cuts down on the mess, and i feel like such a dork whenever i'm cooking in my tidy kitchen, thinking- "bless you, rachel ray."

Divine Imaging said...

Tyler Florence is slightly douch-y...ha ha. meatball sandwitch looks delectable!

Sandi said...

I know it's days later, but I just finished making a LOT of meatballs, thanks to your inspiration. I love having a bunch of them in the freezer so we can have sandwiches or meatball gravy or gyros style meatball pitas at a moments notice. Thanks!

Stephanie said...

Oh man! you gave me the huge craving for a meatball sub, and I never eat those things! I came home tonight and made a few for me and my old man. So good. Thank you for the inspiration!

Oh Sweet Petunia said...

yum! i am so making these. i always enjoy your posts and read it when i'm needing dinner inspiration. i found your blog via damnportlanders awhile ago. given your mention of limbo (a fave of mine) and An Xuyen (another fave - the kid cracks me up too) you totally live in my hood.

Rosalea said...

Hahaha Sweet Petunia - I found this via DamnPortlanders too! :)

This is definitely going on my weekly meal plan circulation. Thankfully I live near Uwajimaya so I'll be scouting for those rolls.

I love Rachel Ray's garbage bowl idea! I've been using that for the last few years. That and my mom's old standby; clean the kitchen as you go, although it never seems to work for the dishes -- they pile up anyhow!

Between you and Orangette (blog) my family is going to be fat and happy :)

Jessica said...

aw crap. Not only are you funny, you like meatball subs. I just discovered this blog by way of the kitchn's link and now I a) want a meatball sub b) am not going to get anything done for the remainder of the afternoon as I cruise through your archives.