No.13: Stuffed Meatball Slider on Soft Pretzel Roll
We don’t usually go out on Valentine’s Day because there’s nothing better than home cooked meal over a good glass of wine. Over the years, I started to realize that I don’t have to cook 5-star restaurant look-alike to impress Mad Scientist. I just happened to be a huge fan of finger foods, and with a bit of creativity, sliders can be a bit upgraded and still served on occasions. And trust me, there’s nothing better than home-baked pretzel, even if there’s no meat in between.
I served this dish at a party once without mentioning the cheese was stuffed inside. I’m happy to say that it kept friends’ interests in foods for a while; the first bite out of the slider was this heavenly cheese oozing out of the meatball, and it was a warm surprise. Having a cheese in the center prevented it from drying out like rubber and stayed edible unlike regular cheese burger sliders.
This recipe sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty straight forward. Foods can be cooked ahead and assembled the next day although there’s nothing like a soft pretzel right out of the oven.
The good thing comes in a small package. And this is a bit different.
- 2lbs ground beef, preferably 80/20 mix
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 cup Panko , use regular plain breadcrumbs if not available
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup cheese mix (grated parmigiano-reggiano, aged asiago, and pecorino romano)
- 1/8 cup dried parsley
- 1/4 cup dried oregano
- 16 x 1/2" cube wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 bottle tomato sauce of your choice - *I used a leftover family recipe red sauce
Follow this recipe from King Author Flour but my notes are below:
- I doubled this recipe to get 16 or more slider sized rolls. I also substituted unbleached all-purpose flour to unbleached bread flour (both from King Author Flour ).
- Each dough before shaping should weigh around 1.5oz and roll with hands to shape.
- Once shaped dough comes out of the baking soda bath, score the top of the roll with razor blade.
- Use egg wash: 2 egg yolk with a dash of water and mix. Brush the wash on rolls before baking.
Preheat the oven at 425F. Line the baking sheet with a parchment paper.
Mix all ingredients except cubed cheese in a large bowl. Using the gravy spoon (or ice cream scoop as Chef Holzman suggested), scoop the meatball mix out of the ball and place 1 cube of cheddar cheese in the center. Shape it with hands and place it on the prepared pan. Repeat the shaping to create 16 meatballs.
Place the sheet pan with meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce and bake for another 2 minutes.
Slice rolls horizontally. Assemble sliders with 1 meatball on each roll, then put tooth pick from the top of the roll to hold the slider together. Serve warm.
Although the soft pretzels are best served on the same day (especially shortly after they are out of the oven), they can be made ahead. Just warm them up again in the oven when ready. Meatballs can be made a day ahead but keep them in the red sauce and refrigerate in air tight container.