Meatballs may sound boring and common but if soft warm cheese oozes out when you bite into one, I doubt very much if the meatball will qualify as boring or common. And if the meatballs are made with a good mix of herbs and spices, the better they will taste.
A sure hit at children’s parties, these cheese-stuffed meatballs may also be served as a finger food at adult parties. Use any ground meat that you like — I used pork but ground beef, chicken, turkey or lamb will do just as well. The cheese can be any variety that can be cut into cubes.
Two tips: First, use dried herbs and spices to minimize moisture in the meatball mixture. Moisture can make meatballs crack during frying. Second, test the temperature of the cooking oil by dropping in one meatball first. The meat should brown and cook in about three minutes. If the meat browns too fast, the oil is too hot. If the meat is still not browned but the cheese is starting to ooze out, the oil is not hot enough. In other words, the temperature of the oil should be such that the meatballs will cook through before the cheese fully melts and oozes out.
- 125 grams cheese (mozzarella, sharp cheddar and feta are great choices)
- 500 grams ground meat
- 1 teaspoon salt (use more or less, depending on the saltiness of the cheese)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 cup fried shallots homemade or store-bought
- 1 teaspoon toasted garlic bits
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/3 cup panko
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
Cut the cheese into half inch cubes.
In a bowl, mix together the meat, salt, pepper, herbs, egg and panko.
Take about a tablespoonful of the mixture, place a piece of cheese at the center and roll to form a ball and seal in the cheese. Ideally, the meatball should be no more than two inches in diameter because it has to cook through in a very short time.
Repeat until you have used up all the meat and cheese. If the size of the meatballs is correct, you should have about twenty.
Heat the cooking oil and fry the meatballs in batches. Six to seven per batch. Fry them until golden, about three minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Serve the cheese-stuffed meatballs as they are. You may opt to serve a dipping sauce on the side. What else can go well with them on the plate, I will leave to your imagination.
Or you can serve meatballs as sliders.