For me, fall is all about three things: sweaters, apple cider and football tailgating. Sweaters, because I own enough cardigans to put Mr. Rogers to shame, apple cider because it’s delicious and Michigan apples make the best cider in the world, and football tailgating because we take it seriously.
Our usual tailgate crew is Jeff and I, Jeff’s parents, some family friends, and whoever else drops by to join the fun. Our setup is two huge motorhomes, four dogs, ten million maize and blue camping chairs, and every tailgating game ever invented. As far as food and drinks, we have all of them.
Wine, beer, every kind of liquor and mixer, bottled water, pop, juice, coffee, hot apple cider, cold apple cider, and anything else you could think of. As far as wine goes, mini (187mL) bottles are pretty perfect for tailgating. Especially when you’re like us, and you like having lots of options.
We like to have a good variety of food, too. We don’t just do hot dogs. We have hot dogs, polish sausage and brats. And hamburgers. Plus we try to come up with a new food theme each week in honor of whoever our competitor might be. That might mean Irish food, or a week with lots and lots of cheese.
While these Meatball Subs with Garlic-White Wine Sauce aren’t in honor of any specific team, I do believe they’re great tailgate food. The meatball mixture can be kept warm in a slow cooker on low until you’re ready to assemble the subs, and they’re certain to keep you full for the entire game.
For the garlic-white wine sauce, I used a mini bottle of pinot grigio. The brightness of the citrus notes in this wine balance out the richness from the cream and the meatballs themselves.
For the Meatballs:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Olive oil, for pan frying
For the Garlic-White Wine Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup pinot grigio
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 6 hoagie rolls
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Make the Meatballs: In large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add beef, pork, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Stir (or mix with hands) until just combined. Do not overmix. Using hands, gently form into golf ball-sized meatballs (you should have about 24) and place on large plate or baking pan.
- Heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin coating of olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, sear meatballs 4 to 6 minutes or until browned on all sides (you do NOT want them fully cooked at this point). Do not crowd skillet. Transfer meatballs to plate. Keep skillet on stove.
- Make the Garlic-White Wine Sauce: Reduce heat to medium; add butter and garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in flour; cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken, stirring frequently.
- Add meatballs to sauce; cook 4 to 6 minutes longer or until internal temperature of meatballs reaches 145 degrees F. Stir in lemon juice.
- Serve meatball in hoagie rolls (4 meatballs per roll), garnished with parsley and Parmesan cheese.