A couple weeks ago, I had put beef tacos and chorizo stuffed poblano peppers on my menu for the week. I had picked up a pound of ground sirloin, and a half pound of Mexican chorizo – and then when it came time to make dinner one night, neither of those options sounded particularly appealing. So, rather than order a pizza, or eat a random plate of snacks for dinner, I decided to come up with something new… and Mexican Meatball Subs were born!
These subs are a nice change from traditional Mexican fare (tacos, enchiladas, and the like), and also an interesting riff on something that’s traditionally Italian (the meatball sub). Overall, they were a refreshing change to our typical weeknight meals!
Mexican Meatball Subs
makes 4-6, depending on size
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Mexican chorizo
1 small shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
3 T heavy cream
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
For the subs:
6 rolls of your choice, toasted
sour cream or greek yogurt
8 ounces of monterey jack cheese, grated
one large, sweet onion, sliced thinly
pickled jalapeños, diced
1.) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the shallot, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, heavy cream, and egg. Make sure everything is well-combined.
2.) Add the beef and chorizo to the bowl, breaking it up as you add it in. Use your hands to gently combine the meats with the shallot and garlic mixture; make sure everything is evenly distributed, but be careful not to overwork the meat!
3.) Use your hands to roll meatballs, aiming to make them about 1.5″ in diameter. You should end up with about 25-30 meatballs.
4.) Heat two large skillets over medium heat. Add about one tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to each skillet. In one, place your meatballs (making sure to give them some space – you’ll probably need to cook them in two separate batches), and in the other, saute your onions.
5.) Cook the meatballs for about 10-12 minutes total, flipping 3 times. Tent the pan with foil in between flips, so the meatballs will cook through more evenly. Continually stir your onions in the other skillet, until they are golden brown and caramelized.
6.) Once your meatballs are cooked and your onions are caramelized, it’s time to assemble your subs! Spread your sour cream or greek yogurt on to the bottom half of the bun or roll; top with caramelized onions, then halved meatballs, and then shredded cheese. Pop the subs under a broiler set to high for 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.
7.) Remove the subs from the broiler, sprinkle them with the cilantro and jalapeños, and top with the top half of your bun. Serve immediately.
*Just a side note: to reduce your standing-over-the-stove time, you could absolutely make these meatballs a little bigger, quickly pan-sear them on 2 sides, and then bake them (in a covered baking dish) for about 15 minutes at 350°. The main reason I cooked them entirely on the stove top is because until about 3 days ago, I had not had a working oven for 2 months, so I had to get a little creative to make certain dishes work out!
These meatball subs were delicious. The combination of the beef and chorizo was great – lots of spice, and a bit of a kick, from the chorizo, which really livened the meatballs up. The pickled jalapeños add a great crunch, and a little bit of acid, which cuts through the richness of the meat and cheese.
I think the next time I make these meatballs, I’ll definitely be making them as an appetizer. I’ll either make slightly bigger meatballs, and serve them as sliders – or slightly smaller meatballs, and serve them on toothpicks (with a pickled jalapeño slice skewered on top of the meatball). You could also form the meat mixture into burger patties, and throw them on the grill. Any which way, I think they’d be a hit!
I guess not adhering to my meal plan worked in my favor this time,