Monday, August 22

Herbalicious Sausage and Cheese Balls

I'm not going to say that Sausage and Cheese Balls are strictly a Southern appetizer but I had never tasted them until I arrived in the South and, from that point on, they seemed to appear at every holiday and party! They're bite-sized, delicious, and can really take the edge off hungry guests waiting for the main course. Most hostesses make them at least a full inch around but I would be serving these at the Midtown Market as samples of solar cooking.

Walking from my Craft Shop to the Big House (all 1100+ square feet of it!), my fresh herbs began calling to me.  Had already planned on sausage balls for the market and was letting that idea roil around in my brain, while keeping my hands busy. Most recipes I knew used biscuit mix and very few spices and herbs, letting the sausage carry that weight; but, I would be doing mine from scratch and decided to let my herbs speak to me as I wandered through the garden. Turned out to be a great idea.

Preheat solar oven to 225F.

Homemade Biscuit Mix:  1 cup flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon lard/tallow/butter, 1 /3 cup powdered milk, 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Mix all dry ingredients together. Using two knives or pastry blender or processor, cut shortening into dry mix until thoroughly blended.
[NOTE: Do NOT add shortening, unless ready to use. Or, keep mix in refrigerator and use within a week.]

Herbalicious Sausage and Cheese Balls
1 pound mild or hot sausage
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
2 cups biscuit mix or Bisquick
1-1/2 cups mixed shredded cheeses (I used sharp cheddar, parmesan, and fontina)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter

That's pretty standard for southern sausage balls. I added these fresh herbs:
4 5" stems of fresh rosemary
3 large leaves of fresh stevia
2 3" stems of spearmint
6 5" stems of Greek oregano
5 stems of Italian parsley

Remove leaves from rosemary stems; add to rest of herbs. (If the stems are not woody, I don't remove the leaves from fresh herbs, just chop them all together.) Using a butcher knife or processor, finely chop all the herbs together and add to sausage mix. Unless making a pesto, I prefer the butcher knife method for evenness and less clean-up.

Directions:  In heavy skillet over med-high heat, saute sausage until crumbly, move to sides of pan; add chopped onion and celery to center and cook until soft. Set aside to cool slightly. In large bowl, combine biscuit mix, herbs, cheeses. Add sausage mixture, beaten eggs and melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Using large end of melon baller or 1/2 teaspoon, (or your hands) drop balls of sausage mix onto lightly sprayed cooking tray. I was able to get 48 mini balls on those throw-away trays, and then stacked them in the solar oven. I also forgot to take pictures of this step. Sorry.

Bake in solar oven for approximately an hour. Test after forty-five minutes, so they don't get too dry. The herbs added an extra oomph to this Southern tradition and I don't think I could go back to the old recipe, myself. Here, try one:
Now, let me know what herbs you'll be trying and share with us.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon, I haven't seen you in blogland for a while, was wondering if all was well. I certainly like this recipe, and would have to give some thought to the herbs. I don't care for spearmint, so I would need to find a substitute. It is nice to see a recipe for appetizer type food. Hugs to you.

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  2. Lordy, Robin, I've been up to my elbows in dehydrating, canning, redoing my craft shop, and, uh, the reality-type things. Have to get ready for the holiday craft sales and reorganizing is a priority. The spearmint is very slight in this recipe, but can certainly be left out. Will be checking out the castle wedding blogs in the next few days. Thanks for caring! {{{HUGS}}}

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  3. That was pretty mean of you to say, "Here, try one." :) They look fantastic. I love the recipe for the home made biscuit mix. Thanks first for that.

    Thank you too for the meatball recipe. I adore the herb additions you made. Bravo.

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  4. Okay, would love to try one. As always, you manage to pump things up a notch or two. I'll bet these went quickly in the market.

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  5. I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

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  6. oh yum...these lo good! i haven't been doing any cooking...just cleaning. and BTW, you are a very funny lady. my kids cleaning? i'm not sure i know what that means. i guess if they knew then i wouldn't be stuck doing this. plus, my daughter now lives in DC or at least i would be able to beat her about the ears!

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  7. If you won't say it then I will- They really are a southern thing! LOL! We have sausage balls all year long like you said and my family in particular has it every Christmas morning while we open up our gifts. It is a tradition and one I hope to continue with my kids for years to come. Your sausage and cheese balls look amazing and now you have me hungry!

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  8. Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2012

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  9. These sound delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe! Now my tummy is grumbling!!

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