Spinach Stuffing Balls

I was introduced to these later in life when my future Mother-in-law pulled a batch out of the toaster oven, and I could not get enough of them! They are great as an appetizer or as a side dish to give stuffing a unique flair. Anyway, fast forward a few years, and I am lucky to have dropped “future” from the “Mother-in-law” title, and I am glad to report that she gave me permission to share the recipe! That said, it is not possible to truly describe it without using some classic Pennsylvania Dutch lingo, so here’s a little glossary of some strange words you will see in the “Method” section below to help you out.

  • Schmutz – (n) 1. Sauce, 2. Somewhat chunky, somewhat liquidy mixture
  • Schmutz – (v) To pour schmutz (n) onto something
  • Schlup – (v) To pour schmutz (n) onto something. Honestly, I still haven’t quite mastered the nuance of the difference between Schmutz (v) and Schlup (v). Sometimes, I think she uses them both just to mess with me…and it works!

These go surprisingly well with Duck Sauce Schmutz and Sweet and Sour Sauce Schmutz as an hors d’oeuvre, but for tonight we’re using them as a side dish to complement Cranberry Sage Glazed Turkey Legs.

Time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients: Makes 9 large balls, 15-18 small ones. Scale up or down as needed

  • Spinach (1 pack of 10 oz frozen chopped…or fresh equivalent when cooked down)
    • I’m using fresh since I have a ton of baby spinach in the fridge, but frozen works just as well and is a much easier to ensure you’ve got the right amount
  • 2 Cups of breading
    • Prepared stuffing from cubed stuffing mix (this is the way to go, but since I have bread, but not stuffing mix, I’m using option 2 in this recipe)
    • Fresh soft bread (white, wheat, or potato), divested of the crust and then ripped or cubed
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 grated (or food processed) onion
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • Seasonings to your taste…especially if going the fresh bread route. I suggest a little black pepper, salt, garlic powder

Method:

  • In a large pan, melt the butter, and add the shredded onion to release the aromatics
  • Add your spinach (thawed if using frozen), and cook down.
  • In a bowl with your breading ingredient of choice, mix in eggs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings, and mash around (powder free surgical or kitchen pvc gloves are good to use here)
  • Schlup your cooked spinach/onion into your egg and bread schmutz, and mix it all up in there
  • Cook immediately or Freeze:
    • To cook
      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
      • Line a cookie sheet with foil (for cleanup ease…not necessary), and spray it with some spray oil
      • Form the mix into balls about 2 inches in diameter, and put them on the sheet pan (1 inch for smaller, which requires a little less cooking)
      • Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them over once in the middle. You’ll know they’re done when they have some browning and crispiness on the outside.
    • To Freeze
      • Line a cookie sheet with foil (for ease of cleanup…not necessary)
      • Form into balls as above, and place on the cookie sheet
      • Put the pan in the freezer until the balls are frozen
      • Transfer the spinach stuffing balls to a zip top bag, and leave it in the freezer
      • To cook later, thaw, put on a cookie sheet, and cook for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree F oven
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!

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