NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 22, 2014

A seriously intense meatball for your football party

Supposedly, we all have our dirty little food secrets, those crazy things we’re embarrassed to admit we love. But the truth is, I don’t consider any of my loves to be secrets. If I love something, I am proud to eat it, no matter how trashy or elegant it is. If I was ashamed to eat it, I wouldn’t eat it!

Which is why in this day of aspirational organic, local, vegan, sustainable, nose-to-tail eating, I think a little honesty about what tastes good and satisfies the soul is important. And that’s why I’m sharing my No. 1 pick for great Super Bowl party food, a trashy, delicious little recipe for sausage meatballs I got from my Aunt Mert.

I made them twice this Thanksgiving for a tony Northern crowd, and I served them right alongside smoked salmon and caviar. The sausage balls were scarfed up while the more sophisticated offerings were ignored. They are spicy, savory, salty and full of protein, so they are the perfect pairing for the beer that typically flows on Super Bowl Sunday!

The simplest Southern sausage meatball recipe is three ingredients — bulk hot breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese and Bisquick. They are so simple that even someone who can’t boil water can make them! All you need is a bowl and a fork (or clean hands) to mix everything together and a baking sheet to cook them on.

If you don’t like spicy foods, you can leave out the cayenne, but I think it helps balance the richness of the meatballs. I also use the sharpest cheddar that I can buy and prefer to grate the cheese myself because it seems to melt better. If you prefer Italian flavors, you can adapt the recipe and use bulk hot Italian sausage and substitute 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for 1/4 pound of the cheddar.

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