Can I Make "Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs?"
On the 'Cooking with Tammy' YouTube channel, I saw this recipe and it looked delicious: mozzarella stuffed meatballs! I decided to give it a try. It reminded me of an Italian Juicy Lucy (see post).
Saturday, November 16, 2019, Attempt #1:
I gathered the ingredients:
I made about half-recipe: 8 oz. of ground beef, bread crumbs, onions, 1/2 egg, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper. I think she actually used ground chicken. Also, I think she had parsley and a couple other spices I didn't have around.
Filling (Mozzarella): She used a block of mozzarella and cut ~1/2" to 3/4" cubes. I just used string cheese (of course). :)
And marinara sauce.
Tammy recommends that you put the mozzarella cheese in the freezer for 60 min. before stuffing it in the meatballs. I put the string cheese in the freezer, then I got the meatball mixture together. It's the same as making hamburgers or meatloaf or filling for Lumpia Shanghai: just putting things in a bowl and mixing them together.
One of things I did differently was that I sauteed my onions for 5 min. or so before putting them in the meatball mixture. I wasn't sure if when I cooked the meatballs that the onions would be cooked through. I don't like the crunch of onions.
You want the meatballs to be probably at least ~1 1/2" in diameter (to fit the cheese), but not too big.
After forming the meatballs, Tammy recommends you put them in the fridge for 30 min. to let the meatballs set.
After 30 min., I cut the string cheese into pieces to stuff into the meatballs and got the meatball mixture out of the fridge.
You press an indentation in the meatball, stuff the cheese and then cover and roll into a meatball again. It's pretty fun!
Then you sear them to get a nice crust on the outside of meatballs and flip them around to make sure all the sides are seared with a nice brown crust. Then, Tammy cooks them and serves them in marinara sauce.
Sometimes I like to have only a little bit of sauce and more meatball taste. Sometimes I eat meatballs without sauce too; that's how much I like them. Haha.
After searing the outside, I wasn't sure if the middle was cooked, so I microwaved them for 2 min. to make sure the inside was cooked through. You could also put them in the oven.
Finishing them off in the microwave is something you can do if you're not sure if when you sear meat on the outside (especially chicken or pork) and aren't sure if the inside is cooked through. Real chefs would do it in the oven. Haha :). But if you haven't turned your oven on while you are cooking, then the microwave works too.
This isn't something that Tammy had to worry about since she cooked them longer in marinara sauce, so the inside of the meatballs could finish cooking while in the sauce.
RESULT: Success! :)
We are good at this! They looked good and tasted good! Yum! Nice cheesy center! An upgrade from traditional meatballs. :)
More photos below. I just microwaved a little marinara sauce and had them with some of this Artisan StoneFire pizza crust as breadsticks (photo below). I could have done the food styling with the marinara sauce a little better, haha. :)
I think Tammy's tip of freezing the mozzarella before using helped it to melt at the right time when cooking the meatballs. Also, I think the size and shape of the mozzarella -- cubes or chunks -- helped it to melt correctly. That was a problem when I used shredded cheddar for the Juicy Lucy. Also, I think the tip of waiting 30 min. to let the meatballs set helped for them to cook without falling apart and leaking mozzarella during searing.
Give it a try! We are good at this!
On the photo on the left, that's a piece of bacon-wrapped mashed potato-stuffed meatloaf with the mozzarella-stuffed meatballs (Stay tuned for that post!)