“Joey doesn’t share food.”
Oh, how I have looked forward to introducing Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, Ross, Monica and Chandler to my daughters. I knew I had to wait until they were old enough to handle some of the more mature content…and we do fast forward through a lot scenes. This summer we entered the world of the 90’s mega-hit sitcom Friends on Netflix…binge watching our way through all of Ross’s failed marriages.
As we approached the final episodes of the show we decided to have a Friend’s themed dinner to celebrate. We thought about making Rachel’s trifle (meat and jam) and we toyed with busting out some fake mockolate treats, but we knew we wanted to take our direction from the sandwich and pizza loving Joey. After all, he was prepared to take a bullet for his sandwich in The One with the Ride Along.
We love making themed meals to pair with the movies we are watching, so this idea seemed perfect and perfectly delicious. While the sandwiches are sliders (a little on the smaller side) we are fairy confident that Joey would approve of our deliciously tender meatball sliders.
Joey’s Meatball Sliders
(adapted from Jamie Oliver’s meatballs)
500g combination of pork/lean beef
12 Jacob’s cream crackers
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 heaped tsp chopped rosemary
1 heaped tsp dried oregano
1 large egg
2 tbsp olive oil
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves or garlic, minced
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Start by making the meatballs. First step is crushing the crackers. Place the crackers in a folded tea towel, or a resealable bag and bash with the back of a wooden spoon (or if you’re feeling frustrated use your fist).
In a large bowl, stir together the crackers, mustard, rosemary, oregano and the meat, until everything is combined. Crack the egg in and mix everything together with your hands.
Now, to divide the meat into meatballs, start by dividing the meat into 4 equal parts. Divide those into 8 equal parts and so on. You will end up with 24 portions of meat. Roll the balls between your hands and place the balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Once all the meatballs are rolled, place the sheet into the fridge while you start the marinara sauce.
For the sauce, add the oil to a large sauté pan and warm over medium high heat. Stir in the shallot and garlic. Sauté until the shallot is soft and translucent…about 8 minutes.
Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in the basil and salt and pepper. Once the sauce begins to bubble, stir in the vinegar. Let the sauce simmer over medium low heat while you brown the meatballs.
Back to the meatballs. Remove the meatballs from the fridge. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Place the meatballs into the heated pan and brown on all sides. Keep the meatballs in a single layer in the pan, so you have more control and more contact with the surface for browning.
As the meatballs become browned, transfer the meatballs to the pan of sauce. Coat in the sauce and continue to cook the meatballs all the way through…approximately 10 minutes.
Once all the meatballs in the sauce and are cooked through, it’s time to build the sliders. Turn on the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up). Place open slider buns on baking sheet. Spread about a tbsp of sauce one side of each bun. Place a meatball on each bun. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
In the past, we have used these meatballs to make BIG meatball subs and I have to say the slider version is so much better. So while Joey would probably prefer a GIANT meatball sub…these sliders are the perfect portion size. The meatballs are melt in your mouth tender. While these sliders are the perfect addition to a Friends themed dinner party, they are also great for kids and family parties. In fact, these are going to be on our Superbowl menu this year.
DISCLOSURE: I AM PART OF THE NETFLIX STREAM TEAM AND HAVE BEEN COMPENSATED FOR THIS ARTICLE, HOWEVER THE OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
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