I love a good meatball sandwich – and the use of venison adds a lovely gamey flavor, the one I used for this recipe enjoyed sage fields for sure. Plus what’s better than venison and a big glass of Syrah. This is also an awesome dish to make for a larger group – put the bread and cheese out, along with a tray of the meatballs, they can build their own smashie.
The bread can start wars – I love the crunch of a baguette, but John thinks slightly toasted dinner rolls are better, so we get both. We’re cheese people so we also top the meatballs with provolone, and broil the sandwiches for a minute.
I included the link to my favorite recipe for tomato jam below – we use it for everything, like a topping to grilled chops.
The only special tool I recommend is a 2 oz ice cream scoop with a spring – it’s the right size to get 16 meatballs, and cooks evenly. Or you can use a scale, to weigh out about 2 oz per meatball.
Venison Meatball Smashies – 8 people or 16 meatballs
1 lb ground venison
1 lb ground pork
Slice of bread soaked in 2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons tomato jam
4 ounces finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino, plus extra to serve
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
28 oz tomato puree
Bread: 2 sourdough baguettes, cut into 8, sliced ¾ through and hollowed out – or slightly toasted dinner rolls
Combine venison, pork, eggs, bread, jam and cheese, season to taste and combine. Fill an ice cream scoop with meat mixture, and roll into 16 balls, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Combine flour, with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper, set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat oil in a large saute pan, dust meatballs with flour mixture, then fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Spread in one layer in a small roasting pan, cover with tomato puree, season to taste, roast until cooked through, about 1 hour.
To serve: Place 2 meatballs in each baguette piece, coarsely crush with a fork, spoon over a little sauce, season to taste, scatter with cheese, serve hot. Enjoy with a big glass of red wine.