My “Best Ever Meatballs” is my go-to recipe for an hors d’oeuvre but I wanted to experiment with a meatball recipe that could serve as a entree and not an appetizer. I definitely wanted them to taste differently from the appetizer version and I also wanted to have some fun with them. So I decided to make these meatballs and I think they’ll be my go-to entree recipe.
This is a great recipe for a variety of reasons. I love it because the meatballs are easy to make, they’re delicious, they cook quickly, the cheese inside is a delightful surprise and it makes great leftovers! I have to say I cheated when I made these, I used pre-made mashed potatoes instead of making them from scratch. But by doing that I could have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. So it was worth the short cut.
So let’s talk meatballs with a surprise…
Lesson Learned 1 – It doesn’t take many ingredients to make the meatballs flavorful: basically you’re mixing the meat with an egg yolk, some panko, minced onion, worcestershire sauce and dijon mustard – that’s it. Combined with the cheese inside and the beef gravy you get flavorful meatballs without a lot of work! The key is to make sure you combine all of the ingredients but not over work the meat. If you do you’ll have tough meatballs and you don’t want that.
Lesson Learned 2 – A little bit of cheese goes a long way: You can use any kind of good melting cheese in the center of your meatballs. I chose one called Buttrekase, a cheese that originated in Switzerland and now produced in Wisconsin. It’s American name is “butter cheese” although it has no butter in it. It melts luxuriously and has a mild buttery flavor. This was a perfect choice for these meatballs.
You will get approximately 15 meatballs out of one pound of ground beef. You don’t want your meatballs to be too big, maybe an inch to an inch and a half in diameter. Make sure you cut pieces of cheese that are small enough to support a meatball that size. Then just take the meat mixture and wrap it around that cheese, pressing the meat together to try to minimize any holes. But don’t worry if cheese leaks out when you bake them. There will still be more inside.
Lesson Learned 3 – Don’t over bake your meatballs: Although the meatballs look large, remember that there is a good amount of cheese inside them. So I would not bake them any longer than 15-18 minutes. Keep in mind you will also be simmering them for a few minutes in the gravy once you take them out of the oven, so they have plenty of time to get cooked through.
This has got to be one of the easiest recipes ever and produces a great meal in a short amount of time. I love topping a mound of mashed potatoes with these meatballs and then drizzling the beef gravy on top. Add a sprinkling of fresh cut flat leaf parsley and you’ve got a meal that looks as good as it tastes. Enjoy!
MEATBALLS WITH A SURPRISE INSIDE...
(For The Meatballs)
1 pound 93% lean ground sirloin
2 Tbs. minced onion
1 egg yolk
3 Tbs. panko bread crumbs
1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dijon mustard
4 oz. good melting cheese (I used Butterkase cheese)
Chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish
(For The Sauce)
4 – 6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups beef stock, divided and unsalted
2 Tbs. corn starch
2 Tbs. ketchup
2 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a lipped baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Cut the cheese into about 15 small pieces. Combine onion, egg yolk, minced onion, bread crumbs worcestershire sauce and mustard until well combined. Add the ground beef and mix until just combined.
Divide the ground beef mixture into about 15 equal sized pieces. Flatten each piece, add a piece of cheese into the center and roll the meat around the cheese sealing it to the best of your ability.
Bake 15-18 minutes. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until tender (5-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (approx. 1 minute). Pour all but 1/4 cup of the beef stock into the pan. Mix the remaining stock with the cornstarch, making sure that the cornstarch is completely absorbed into the stock. Add that to the pan along with the ketchup and worchestershire sauce. Cook until thick. Salt and pepper to taste.
Take the meatballs out of the oven and add them to the sauce. Simmer them in the sauce for about 3 minutes. Serve warm.