Friday, October 1, 2010

RECIPE: Sausage-Cheddar Balls

Bisquick Sausage-Cheddar Balls have been around for a long, long time. They are a staple at my family's annual Christmas Eve get-together, the one where all the ladies in the family make different kinds of appetizers for everyone to munch on while the kiddies open their gifts. The best thing about them, other than the taste, is how easy they are: Just a few simple ingredients stir up into a very tasty little snack.

Bisquick, the powdery baking mix that can be found on just about every pantry shelf, has been around since 1931. It was "discovered" in 1930 by an executive from General Mills who was traveling by train to some destination and who found that the dining car chef had taken a short cut in making his delicious biscuits by pre-mixing the flour, lard and baking powder. Bisquick was born and has been helping home cooks make things like Impossible Cheeseburger Pie and Busy Day Cobbler and Sausage-Cheddar Balls (things that frequently appeared on the dining room table in my childhood) ever since - it's very versatile.

The origins of the actual Sausage-Cheddar Ball recipe are fairly dim. In doing a little hasty research on the internet, the most information I can find is that they have been around "since the 1970s," which gave me a hideous mental image of a furry-chested man with thick sideburns and tinted eyewear leering at a Florence Henderson-haired woman in an orange halter mini-dress and frosted peach lipstick while they shared a be-toothpicked Sausage-Cheese Ball and a thimble of Drambuie. While listening to the music of Burt Bacharach playing in the background...STOP. STOP. STOP. I really want Sausage-Cheddar Balls to have originated in the more innocent 1950s, where they'd be produced on a china platter by a Marian Cunningham-type of Mom in a frilly apron. She'd be serving them to her afternoon bridge club with a thimble of sweet sherry and there'd be no hint at all of a goldfish bowl full of car keys lingering about the place. Ew.


1 pound of spicy sausage, cooked and drained and patted dry between paper towels
2 cups of baking mix
2 cups coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
enough milk to moisten the mixture(approximately 2 tablespoons)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, using enough milk to moisten the mixture easily. Shape mixture into walnut-sized balls; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Best if served hot -- it's easy to keep them piping if you put them in an electric skillet set on Warm -- but also delicious if served at room temperature on a pretty plate garnished with parsley. Very retro, very Middle America.

1 comment:

Kayte said...

Frightening that I was in high school and college during the 70's, isn't it???? Scares me, too. I will have to try this...first, go get Bisquick. Second figure out what kind of sausage to use...yep, it will be a field trip day for me to get these things and try them. I was trying to remember what I ate in the 70s and I can't quite remember. Quisp cereal for breakfast a lot, I do remember that. Grilled cheese was always my standby 90% of the time. I was rather picky during those years. Maybe I should go back to that.