I hadn't either but now I'm a huge fan. What a great idea! Plus, they were simple and pretty quick to make.
Although you can see that they're gooey and cheesy when fresh and still warm, we also found them to be an awesome snack for a road trip and great with or without dip. When I first made them, I took them to a friend's place, reheated them a bit and served them with some creamy avacado sauce as a dip. They were a hit!
The recipe here is adapted from the recipe for Baked Couscous Poppers on the Cupcake Project, a site which not only has great looking cupcakes, but a variety of tasty savory options too!
So I headed into the kitchen to throw these together and saw a bowl of bulgar on the counter (there are 6 women living here so this wasn't exactly a shocking "who broke in and put bulgar on the counter" moment - I think there's something new in the kitchen every time I go in there). After explaining my baking plan to my roommate, she basicly replied with 'ditto' and I was floored. As it turns out, she was planning to make balls too but her's were based on her Mother's recipe and would be boiled and coated in a tangy sauce - plus they much smaller, which meant she was kept busy shaping them long after mine were in the oven.
Enough with the talk, on to the simple and tasty recipe I promised.
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cups uncooked couscous
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- spices, to taste
- 1 3/4 cup shredded cheese
Note: For my balls I used a mix of flavours I like including garlic powder, pepper, salt, paprika and a number of large 'pinches' of an italian herb mix that I tend to throw into everything. I used emmentaler for the cheese as it's a readily available here and I know from experience that it's tasty when melted.
1. Bring water to a boil (can be in a kettle/water boiler).
2. Measure dry couscous into a large bowl.
3. Pour hot water over couscous, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Remove cover, fluff couscous with a fork and set aside to cool (in the meantime, organize the other ingredients and grate the cheese).
5. Preheat oven to 175°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
8. Roll each ball into the remaining breadcrumbs, it will soak up some of the moisture.
9. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
10. Best served warm with a paired dip (but still great cooled and on their own if you ask me).
Aside from simplicity and deliciousness in themselves, one of the awesome aspects of this recipe is just how versatile it is. There are a few ideas on the Cupcake Project website already but it doesn't take much to realize how many different combinations of cheese + spices + dip these would be possible with. You can pick and choose based simply on what you have available, what you're serving them with or what you want to pair them with. Let me know what you come up with!