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Pumpkin Hush Puppy Meatballs

I was at the check out stand the other day, and while waiting there I picked up a magazine that had to do with all things "Pumpkin". Pumpkin baking, pumpkin cooking, pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin name it......pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin....

There was a recipe for Pumpkin Hush Puppy Meatballs.....I know.....but I just 'had' to try making them.

Here's the recipe and a few pics:

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

2 green onions, sliced

1 tbsp minced seeded jalapeño pepper

1 1/2 lbs bulk Italian sausage

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese,

cubed and softened

jalapeno pepper jelly

1. Preheat oven to 375º. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Stir in the pumpkin, green onions and jalapeño pepper. Add sausage, Monterey Jack cheese and cream cheese; mix lightly but thoroughly.

2. With wet hands, shape the mixture into 1-1/2 in. balls. Place balls on parchment-lined baking trays.

3. Bake until cooked through, 40-45 minutes, rotating pans halfway. Serve meatballs with jalapeño pepper jelly.

To make this, I opted not to use jalapeño peppers, but instead, purchased some Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers in the cheese. I left the 1/4 tsp of cayenne - I use the same pepper in my Indian cooking so that was no biggie - just the right amount of heat.

I recommend a stand mixer to stir this all up. It can be very gooey and tough if you're only using a wooden spoon.....don't even try using a spatula for this, the mixture will just laugh at it.

Well, preparation was fine, mixing was fine, shaping them was fine, cooking them in the oven was fine, but the final product was a BUST. Shelley took a bite and swore that I had put fish in the recipe! The cornmeal and flour dominate in this recipe and I now know why the emphasis on 'spice' is need it for flavouring. These are like tasteless crab-cake balls without the crab.

Having said all this, why would I take the time to post all this? Two reasons; first, someone might really enjoy this recipe more than we did. Second, not everything we tackle or seek to do is perfect. There are duds in life, and I will show my successes and failures equally here.

It's never a wasted effort though - one still learns new techniques and learns through exposure and time in cooking and baking what works, what doesn't work, tweaking...etc....

Hope you enjoyed this post.

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