Venison Meatball Subs Topped with Mozzarella

Taste of the Wild

If you garden, odds are you still have a few tomatoes hanging around as we head into deer hunting season. This recipe calls for fresh Roma tomatoes, but you can use a can of diced tomatoes instead. You could even make your meatballs ahead of time, and use commercially prepared marinara sauce instead of the homemade version, to craft a quick and hearty meal. 

Tomato Sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 Roma tomatoes, diced
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Saute the onions in oil oil for 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer, add diced tomatoes, onion and garlic powder and reduce heat. Add basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 25-30 minutes to reduce liquid, stirring occasionally and using a spoon to crush the tomatoes during cooking.

Meatballs

Preheat oven to 350
1 lb. ground venison (elk, moose, or even beef can be used interchangeably)
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 eggs
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of dried oregano
Several grinds of fresh ground pepper

Combine ingredients and form into balls.*Place in a shallow baking pan that is large enough to hold all of the meatballs without crowding, and will have enough room to add your tomato sauce. (**Note, if you haven’t added fat to the grinding process or are using lean game, lightly spray the pan with cooking spray so the meatballs don’t stick.) Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Turn meatballs using a spoon, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. If you add any fat to your grinding process when you prepare your venison, be certain to drain off the fat.
Pour tomato sauce over meatballs and return to oven for 15 minutes to meld flavors.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

The Sandwich

4 Hoagie buns or French Bread, opened, but not cut entirely through
Brush inside with butter (optional)
Pop in oven and lightly toast buns for 3-5 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and assemble the sandwiches.
Place 3-4 meatballs with sauce into each bun. Drizzle some extra sauce over the meatballs.
Top each sandwich with a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese. Return pan to hot oven and toast just until cheese is melted. About 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.
 

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Meatball Sub_Photo by iStock

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