Chef John Folse’s Cookbook: Tips for Making Perfect Meatballs

Score big points with these great meatball tips.


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There are many different claims to the origin of the po’boy, but the most commonly accepted belief is that it was created in New Orleans by Benny and Clovis Martin during a streetcar strike in 1929. The Martins created an inexpensive sandwich made of Louisiana-style French bread and loaded with meat or seafood. The local restaurant workers began referring to the strikers as “poor boys,” and it wasn’t long before the sandwich gained that same name. Today, po’boys are made with nearly every type of meat from fried seafood to deli-style ham and even meatballs. By pairing these moist, juicy meatballs with crumbled fresh Feta, a new po’boy masterpiece was created.

Prep Time: 2 Hours

Yields: 6–8 Servings

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 pound ground chuck

1 pound ground pork

¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese

6 eggs

1 cup minced onions

1 cup minced celery

½ cup minced bell peppers

¼ cup minced garlic

¼ cup chopped basil

1¾ cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs

2 tbsps salt

2 tbsps black pepper

Method for Meatballs:

In a large mixing bowl, combine beef and pork. Using your hands, blend meat well. Add Feta, eggs, onions, celery, bell peppers, minced garlic, basil and bread crumbs. Continue to blend then season with salt and pepper. Fry a small patty of meat mixture in a sprinkle of extra-virgin olive oil to test seasoning. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Roll meatballs to desired size. Meatballs should be slightly larger than a golf ball. Place on a cookie sheet, cover and refrigerate. This recipe will make approximately 20 meatballs.


Ingredients for Po’boys:

20 meatballs (see recipe above)

6 (8-inch) Po’boy or French bread

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups diced onions

1 cup diced celery

¼ cup minced garlic

2 (16 ounce) can tomato purée

¼ cup chopped basil

salt and pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

Method for Po’boys:

In a 3-gallon saucepot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and minced garlic. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in tomato purée and chopped basil. Bring to a low boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gently drop raw meatballs into sauce. Return sauce to a simmer. Do not stir for first 10 minutes of simmering or meatballs will break. When stirring, use a wooden spoon and move the meatballs gently. Simmer 1 hour, adding water or chicken stock if sauce becomes too thick. Season to taste with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Place 3–4 meatballs on each po’boy bread and top with a generous portion of sauce. You may wish to top with additional crumbled Feta. Serve hot.

Recipe courtesy of Chef John Folse