Written by Stephanie Siam
I have to admit when I became Muslim, there were a couple of things I was not excited about giving up. Pork, on the other hand, was not on that short list. Unlike many, many Southerners, I never developed an affinity for “the other white meat”. In fact, when my mother would announce we were having pork chops for dinner, I would groan and mumble, “I’d rather eat tire rubber.”
Still, as a non-Muslim, you don’t realize how many products (i.e., delicious processed junk foods) have pork by-products in them. Marshmallows, Lucky Charms (darn you, Leprechaun!), Jell-O…….I could go on, but I won’t. No sense rubbing it in your face what you can’t have anymore. (Darn you, Leprechaun….again!)
Of course, there are many dishes that have pork in them, which can be substituted with another meat. A particular delicacy is one of my favorite festive appetizers: spicy sausage balls.
Typically, the star ingredient in this recipe is spicy pork sausage. However, it’s quite easy to substitute any kind of sausage — including fauxage (faux sausage).
So, join me in a little trip down Memory Lane.
Halalified Sausage Balls
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
For this recipe, you’ll need the following kitchen tools:
- 1 large mixing bowl
- baking sheets (size and number depend on oven measurements)
- cheese grater*
- measuring cup
You’ll also need the following ingredients:
- 16 oz uncooked sausage (any kind, but should be “sausage” and not just “ground beef”, as “sausage” has spices in it already)
- 16 oz cheddar cheese (mild, medium or sharp)
- 1/2 cup plain cream cheese
- 3 cups Bisquick flour (not regular flour, but Bisquick…..if I can get it in Oman, you can get it wherever you are)
- 1/2 cup milk (not skimmed)
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1/2-1 Tbsp of hot sauce (optional)
- Cooking spray
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F (about 225 C). Set sprayed baking sheets out next to where you will be working.
- Using the cheese grater, shred the cheese. (*If you prefer, you can by one 2-cup package of pre-shredded cheddar cheese.)
- In a large mixing bowl, add the sausage, cheddar cheese and cream cheese. Sift the Bisquick over the sausage and cheese. Add the parsley, pepper, salt and hot sauce. Mix well by hand until all ingredients are combined.
- If the mixture appears too dry, add some of the milk; about 1/4 cup at a time.
- Roll the mixture into balls and place on baking sheet 1/2″ apart.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick (or knife) comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes to allow for easier transfer off baking sheet.
- Serve with ketchup, BBQ sauce or your favorite dipping sauce/chutney.
Yields: Approximately 80-90 balls, depending on size
The raw mixture can be pre-rolled into balls and frozen for future baking. After baking, leftovers should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
A couple of notes regarding the meat I used:
Sausage is very difficult to find in Oman. It is usually only pre-made and sold as breakfast type with specific flavoring.
However, I did find one butcher who sells boerewors, a traditional South African sausage. Unfortunately, it comes already in a casing. To remedy this issue, I simply slit the casing and removed the sausage.
If you are able, buy sausage that comes in a roll. This is uncased, raw sausage. If you buy cased sausage, you will also need to remove the casing prior to mixing the ingredients.
Additionally, be careful and ask the butcher if you’re buying cased sausage, as the casing is often made of pork — even if the meat isn’t! (I know, I know! Tell me about it!)
Try it out and let us know what you think! Saha wa afia (to your health and enjoyment) and happy eating!
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