This dish was a result of a couple what-ifs. What if you didn't have to deal with meatballs rolling out of your sub? What if you could make a meatball out of bison -- juicy and flavorful, but also lean? What if you could get a Philly cheesesteak the way you actually want it -- more veggies, cleaner meat, and just a sprinkling of cheese?
And so this broccoli rabe and bison meatball sub was born. This is seriously one of the best things I've ever made. There's the bitterness of the rabe, the sweetness of the onions, the umami of the bison meatballs (and the soy sauce and ketchup inside them), and the oomph of the cheese. But I'd say the real revelation is the baguette end. Go out of your way to get the real deal -- crusty, with that addictive bready je ne sais quoi. Those baguette stubs are game-changers.
RECIPE: Meatballs (adapted from this Whole Foods Recipe): Mix 1 lb ground bison, 1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp oregano, pinch cayenne pepper, 1 cup Panko, 1 egg. Roll into 1-inch balls and bake in an oven preheated at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Broccoli Rabe and Onions: Dice 1 onion and 6 garlic cloves and saute on high for 3 minutes. Add 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, trimmed of stems (stems are great, but can be a bit cumbersome in a sandwich) and continue to saute for another 7 minutes, until everything is wilted and the onions are browned.
Final Steps: Cut the baguette into the sizes you want (go for the stubs first). Toast. Sprinkle mini cubes of provolone of any other sweet/musty cheese on the rabe and onions. I used Tome de Vache Basque. Using tongs, stuff the baguette with meatballs and veggies, alternating until stuffed 'til the brim.