Well, these are little bundles of heaven! They take a little extra effort than a meatloaf (I suppose you can make this as a meatloaf to save time), and making the meatballs ain’t pretty… but it’s totally worth it! These are company worthy!
I adapted the recipe from one I found at my favourite place to find recipes these days – Pinterest. I used 2 lbs of ground beef because that’s how much the vacuum sealed package I pulled from the freezer weighed. Also, I used marble cheese instead of mozza or provolone as the recipe called for, simply because I didn’t want to open the brand new package of mozza… but I would stick to mozza or provolone next time, as it shouldn’t melt out quite as much.
I wanted to use just one frying pan for the whole process, so I used a bowl to store the cooked onions while I seared the meatballs. After the meatballs were seared I took them out of the pan so that I could drain the oil – I didn’t want them sitting in all that grease in the oven. Then I put everything back in the cast iron frying pan for the oven. It was a little bit extra coordination, but I loved the idea of using the cast iron to finish cooking them in the oven.
French Onion Stuffed Meatballs
Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 40 mins
2 sweet or yellow onions
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp beef bouillon powder
2 lb lean ground beef
1 slice white bread soaked in milk
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 – 1 tsp garlic pepper
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 cups mozza or provolone – shredded or cut into cubes
1 pkg onion soup mix
2 cups water
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp beef bouillon powder
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Prep the Onions:
Add the butter and onions to an oven-proof frying pan. Sauté until onions are opaque and soft. Salt to taste, add the water, wine, thyme and bouillon powder. Simmer on low until the liquid has reduced to about half. Put in another dish and set aside to cool.
Prep the Meatballs:
Place the cheese and onions nearby. Have a plate or large cutting board ready to place the meatballs on once you’ve made them. In a large bowl, mix the meat, mushed up bread, egg, panko and seasonings together by hand. Place a large meatball sized amount of meat in one hand (I put it in my left hand because I’m right handed). Cup your hand and push a well in the centre of the meat with the other hand. Stuff a little bit of onions and a little bit of cheese into the well, using your hands to move the meat around the onions and cheese as you stuff. It may take you a couple meatballs to figure it out. You want the meat all the way around the stuffing, so if you seem short, grab a little bit of extra meat. Round out the balls out and put them on a dish. Reserve any leftover cheese and onions for on top of the meatballs.
Make the Sauce:
Place all ingredients for the sauce in a small sauce pan. Whisk to get rid of any lumps and cook until thickened. Remove from heat.
Cook the Meatballs:
Add some canola oil to the pan and heat it up. Being careful not to burn yourself on splashing oil, arrange all the meatballs in the pan. Using tongs, turn the meatballs only once they’re crispy. You don’t want to handle them too much because you don’t want them to fall apart. Once the meatballs are seared on all sides, remove them from the pan. They’ll finish cooking in the oven. Drain the oil from the pan and put the meatballs back into the pan.
Cover the meatballs with the remaining onions. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on the meatballs. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Serve these awesome meatballs with mashed potatoes and green beans. Enjoy!
Adapted from this recipe: french-onion-stuffed-meatballs