Just as gumbo is a dish that can be made with many meats — or combinations of meats — these meatballs could be created with almost any ground meat you desire. Rather than beef and pork, perhaps throw in veal, bison, chicken or even shrimp! The resulting meatball is as warm, sloppy and delicious as a meatball sub from your favorite deli or concession stand, but the unconventional use of the Slap Ya Mama Cajun Gumbo Dinner Mix gives them a LOT of flavor with little effort. (Shh! Don’t tell.)
I particularly enjoyed the tomato sauce/unpickled giardiniera, though. Sweet and hot, cooked into a thick and chunky paste, it could be an ideal condiment for almost any hot sandwich.
For the meatballs
1 cup milk
1 box Slap Ya Mama Cajun Gumbo Dinner Mix
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
3/4 cup breadcrumbs or Slap Ya Mama Cajun Fish Fry (or more if needed for texture)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
For the sandwiches
Sliced provolone cheese
8-10 sandwich buns, toasted
Combine milk and Slap Ya Mama Cajun Gumbo Dinner Mix in a large bowl, and
allow to sit for at least 20 minutes for the gumbo mix to rehydrate.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with a layer of parchment
paper and a layer of cooking spray.
Add the remaining meatball ingredients to the bowl with the gumbo mix and
mix together, only until combined. Do not overwork the meat mixture. Add more
breadcrumbs if mixture is too moist.
Using a 2 tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop the meat into balls and place
on the baking sheet, making sure the meatballs do not touch.
Bake the meatballs for 8-10 minutes, until almost cooked through. Then turn
the oven to broil for 2 minutes to toast the exterior; flip the meatballs and
broil 1-2 minutes longer to toast the other side.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine the tomatoes, vegetables, oregano and
sugar in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and
allow to simmer 20-30 minutes. Stir regularly, smashing the tomatoes against
the pan wall occasionally to break them up. The vegetables’ liquid should be
almost completely evaporated. If not, continue to simmer until you achieve the
Assemble the sandwiches with a layer of sauce, the meatballs, provolone
cheese and more sauce. Return the sandwiches to the warm oven to melt the cheese,
Instead of in sandwiches, the meatballs and vegetables can also be served alone
or over another starch, such as rice or orzo pasta.