I get the appeal of traditional sausage balls.
Open a tube of breakfast sausage, a bag of shredded cheese and a box of Bisquick, squish the ingredients together with your hands, form a bunch of sausage balls, bake and serve. In their new book, “The Southerner’s Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom and Stories” (Harper Wave, $37.50), the editors of Garden and Gun magazine point out that this usually results in musket-like balls that could take down a horse.
“With just a dollop of ingenuity and not much more work, you can build a better ball,” they write. Instead of using a flour-based baking mix, the editors suggest a gluten-free binder made with cornmeal and baking powder. A hint of buttermilk will add tang, grated onion and brown sugar throw in a smidgen of sweet, and a handful of herbs and seasonings mean that your appetizers don’t rely solely on cheese and the spices in the sausage for flavor.
With the Super Bowl around the corner, I pulled this recipe *just* in case you’re looking to up your party game. Other somewhat recent recipes we’ve published that would make ridiculously awesome party foods: oven-baked crispy chicken wings, the best spinach artichoke dip you’ll ever make, cheesy cornbread, Via313-inspired Detroit-style pizza and this vegan chili from just a few weeks ago. (I’ve received a TON of positive feedback on that pecan/mushroom chili, even from meat-eaters who tried it, so if you need a vegan dish at your party, you might consider that one.)
Homemade Sausage Balls
1 cup fine-ground cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. minced fresh sage
2 Tbsp. sliced fresh chives
1 (10-oz.) block extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. bulk spicy breakfast sausage
2 Tbsp. grated onion
2 Tbsp. buttermilk
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, sage and chives in a large bowl. Add the cheese and toss with the cornmeal mixture to evenly coat and distribute. In a separate bowl, combine the sausage, onion and buttermilk. Pour the cornbread and cheese mixture into the sausage mixture and mix with your hands to thoroughly combine.
Roll packed tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until bubbly, cooked through and golden brown. Makes 36 balls.
— From “The Southerner’s Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom and Stories” by the editors of Garden and Gun magazine (Harper Wave, $37.50)