Southern Comfort Party Food
For literally as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the original version of this recipe, Sausage Cheese Balls. Savory, cheesy, biscuit-y with crispy edges – 4 year old me was sold. Though Bisquick baking mix is found across the US, I think these little porky nuggets were most popular in the south as a party food or special breakfast treat. I remember being excited to eat them at my NC preschool, probably at parties. I think my mom (who hates biscuits and all things adjacent) would even make them for me at home #truelove.
Well, after middle school, my family moved to New Jersey and sausage cheese balls were all but a memory in the land of Taylor ham/pork rolls sandwiches and ubiquitous Italian-American food. Fortunately, I was reunited with this cheesy treat years later when my Texan neighbor made them for the “fancy” college graduation party we threw for our parents. How could I have forgotten! “Never again”, I told myself (ha! probably not that momentous). I’ve been making them for parties ever since.
A Party Hit Or Your Money Back
I guarantee that where ever you bring these, they will be a hit*. They are sturdy and delicious at room temperature, so it’s a no-fuss savory finger food that’s a little heartier than cheese and crackers. For several years, I made these and hauled them across a NYC borough or two for my friends’s Steph and Paul’s Annual Christmas party. I was very popular. But I took a couple of years off and while they never said it, I knew they hoped for a return each time I showed up. This year I was ready to get back for a comeback, but I wanted to try a new twist.
Inspired By My Favorite Tacos
I’d been thinking of this idea for awhile and was excited to incorporate some Mexican flavors. I love Mexican-style fresh chorizo because it’s so boldly seasoned with paprika, cumin and garlic – some of my favorites. I usually eat chorizo in tacos but I thought the flavors would be great in biscuit too. Cilantro is a perfect sidekick and provides some herbal brightness. I kept the cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese because it’s still a dish made with Bisquick so we can relax on finding “authentic” cheeses. Plus, these melt well and are yummy.
After tasting a few hot Cheesy Chorizo Bites, I thought that they would be even better with a sweet and tart dipping sauce to counter the salty and sharp sausage and cheese. Pineapple came to mind because it’s in of one of my favorite tacos, tacos al pastor. It’s a popular taco made with spit roasted pork and pineapple that I ate nearly everyday when I was in Mexico City. I kept the flavors in this jam simple and straight forward because we know who the star is here. This pineapple jam is a cinch to make and can be done while the bites are baking. You can use the leftovers on toast, yogurt or in a savory dish as well. I bet a bit of this mixed with soy sauce on salmon or pork chops would be great. Time to get baking. Enjoy!
*OK, clearly not the way to go for the pork, dairy and/or gluten free folks. Try my Irresistible Savory Popcorn instead!
Cheesy Chorizo Bites w/Pineapple Jam
The name says it all. Salty, cheesy, tangy and sweet flavors come together for a great party food, snack or special breakfast treat
Make sure to use uncooked Mexican-style chorizo, not cured Spanish chorizo. I always prefer shredding my own cheese but you can use pre-shredded cheese if you’re short on time.
You can combine everything with my hands in a bowl (what I usually do) but used a stand mixer this time. It’s only a bit faster.
I often freeze these and bake them as needed straight from the freezer. Just add about 5 minutes onto the baking time.
- 1 lb fresh chorizo sausage (casings removed)
- 1 lb medium or sharp Cheddar (4 cups shredded)
- 3 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
- handful of cilantro (2 Tbsp finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
- 1 tsp cornstarch (aka. corn flour, like Argo)
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of fine salt
- 1 serrano pepper (optional)
- large mixing bowl
- cheese grater (if shredding your own cheese)
- stand mixer with paddle attachment (optional)
- measuring cup
- cutting board
- chef’s knife (or similar)
- baking sheet(s)
- small pot with lid
- parchment paper (or oil to grease the baking sheet)
- mixing spoon
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment or grease with oil. Finely chop the cilantro and measure out 2 Tbsp. Grate the Cheddar cheese if you’re starting with blocks vs. pre-shredded.
- Add Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and Bisquick to the bowl and mix with your hands or spoon to combine them. Add the sausage, cilantro and milk. Mix with your hands or stand mixer until everything is combined.
- Use the tablespoon to scoop heaping tablespoons and roll them into balls. Place them on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and sides. Remove them from the pan to cool.
- Combine the crushed pineapple, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup sugar and 1tsp cornstarch in the pot. Add the sliced or grated serrano pepper if using. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pineapples should change from opaque to translucent.
- Remove the lid and let it cook uncovered until it’s thickened to a spoonable consistency (2-5) minutes. Squeeze in the juice of one lime. Stir and let it cool off the heat.
You can freeze the pineapple jam. I stored mine in a ziplock bag. Just thaw it and bring it room temperature to serve. I did add a bit of fresh lime zest on top for color and a pop of freshness.