Lake Superior CSA

Chorizo and Beef Meatballs Stuffed with Goat Cheese


About 3 years ago, I went though a major meatball phase -- everything from good old Italian with pasta to Rueben with sauerkraut to Swedish and lefse. It was a good run and spanned quite a few countries but for some reason, I never stuffed one. Until last week. My sister Liz and her family were visiting and I wanted to make something special that would appeal to both adults and kids -- and pasta and fancy meatballs seemed like an appropriate welcome-to-Bayfield dinner. 


I had a couple of pounds of South Shore Meats chorizo in the freezer and figured that would be a good stand-in for plain old pork sausage in the meatballs and that turned out to be a seriously good call. The meatballs had just the right amount of seasoning and were a nice compliment to the simple tomato sauce. 


If there is anything tricky about this recipe, it's the process of wrapping the meat around the cheese. Having a semi-frozen ball of cheese makes the whole process a lot easier because you can be a little more assertive in your sealing because the cheese keeps it shape. Try and get a good seal, otherwise the cheese will seep out and you'll be left with an empty, but still delicious, meatball. 


Homer, my sister's Pug, came to visit and immediately remembered that the treat jar is near the door, Aldo is an overly enthusiastic host, and the best place to hang out is at my feet when I'm cooking because sous-chef/pup types are first in line for taste-testing. He didn't get a meatball though -- those were reserved for the two-legged family members!


Chorizo and Beef Meatballs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

1 pound South Shore Meats ground beef
1 pound South Shore Meats chorizo
1 cup breadcrumbs
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 8-ounce container of Sassy Nanny Lake Effect goat cheese

Tomato Sauce
2 28-ounce cans of chopped tomatoes
1 Yoman Farms yellow squash, chopped
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the chorizo and ground beef in a large bowl and thoroughly combine (I use my hands) and then add all the remaining ingredients, except the goat cheese, and using your hands again, mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside. 

Scoop out 10 large gumball-sized pieces of goat cheese and roll into a balls. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray and place in freezer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  

While the goat cheese is in the freezer, combine all the ingredients for the tomato sauce in a Dutch oven or large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce starts to bubble. Reduce to a simmer. 

Remove the goat cheese balls from the freezer. Divide the meatball mixture into 10 equally-sized patties and set aside. Place a goat cheese ball in the middle of the meatball patty and then wrap the meat around the cheese, taking care to seal the meat completely around the cheese. Set aside and repeat with the remaining meatball patties and goat cheese balls. 

Place the meatballs in the tomato sauce and cover. Cook over low heat (you want to sauce to be at barely a simmer, just a few bubbles breaking the surface) for about 40 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. 

Serve immediately over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan.