Growing up, my family always made cheese-and-sausage balls around the holidays. I don’t know why they emerged just then; it’s not like they were a Bûche de Noel or something that screams, “JUST MAKE ME IN DECEMBER.” But anyway, such was the case. My mom got this recipe from her mom...I don't even know the original source, but it is simple cooking at its most flavorful.
The original recipe called for just three ingredients: Bisquick, Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, and cheddar cheese. I try to use unrefined, all-natural foods so have remade this along those lines but have maintained the humble goodness of this treat.
You can make these ahead! Store them in the fridge, and warm before serving. —em-i-lis
about 60 balls
spicy pork sausage (I like andouille or hot Italian), casings removed
sharp or extra-sharp cheddar, grated
organic pancake mix (I use Whole Foods' buttermilk pancake mix)
In a 10" skillet, lightly brown the sausage to release some of the grease, crumbling the meat as you go. Drain on paper towels if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375.
In a large bowl, mix together the browned sausage, grated cheese, and baking mix. By the 1/8 c, add buttermilk until the mix comes together. You don't want this to be wet, but you do want to be able to roll the mix into balls.
Using a spoon and your hands, make walnut-size balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with cayenne. Cook until brown (about 15 mins), cool and serve or store.
Note: In the picture are cheese-and-saus balls made with three different kinds of sausage, hence the variation in color. It's fun to make a mix!