Meatballs for gamblers

Do you guys like games? I love games. You can keep me happy all night with a fridge full of beer and a good long round of Risk. The competition, the hilarity when you wipe out one of your friends’ painstakingly built up army, the thrill of the win or the crush of defeat, I love it. But it doesn’t have to be a long or complicated game like Risk. Even simple games are great. I’ll get just as excited and competitive about Snakes and ladders, no problem.

So guess what, I love food, I love games, I love combining them. Why sit around playing cards and drinking, as if the two were completely unrelated activities, when you can integrate them and play Ring of Fire?

Recently, a friend of mine came out with something I thought was pretty amusing: Russian roulette crisps. At first I thought it was something she’d made up herself, but then I realised this was actually the way these things were marketed: Russian roulette doritos, where most of them are simple nacho cheese flavour, but some of them are spicy like you wouldn’t imagine. We had some fun trying them out and watching each other cry with the spiciness or smile relievedly when it was plain cheese flavour.

However, the crisps had one big downside: the flavour powder obviously spreads from one crisp to the next in the bag, so rather than getting one super spicy one every now and then, you’d really go from mild to half-spicy to really spicy. We had fun with the concept for a while, but the execution wasn’t the best.

Thank god I found a way to make this game perfect, though: Russian roulette meatballs. For every five plain meatballs, you stuff one with chopped chilis – five out of six you’re OK, one out of six your head explodes. The difference in stuffing is invisible from the outside, so you make a hundred in total, take them to a party, and you wait for the fun to start. Make sure to put a note up, because games are only fun if people actually realise they’re playing.


You can season your meat as you always do, with whatever flavours you like. I just listed what I used this time round, but you can use whatever. However, I’d suggest not making them (too) spicy, or the effect of the spicy filling will be lost.

So, for a well-attended party, use:

  • a generous kilo of mince (count 12 – 15 gr of mince per meatball)
  • 1 egg
  • some breadcrumbs
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1,5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a small-ish onion, grated
  • a dash of olive oil
  • a few dried chilis, ground or chopped – alternatively you can use simple fresh chilies, or ghost peppers, or whatever. See how spicy you want to go.

I stuffed my five-out-of-six meatballs with mozzarella. It was a bunch of hassle, and next time I’d just go for plain ones. You decide. If you want to stuff them, use:

  • one mozzarella

You’ll also need some baking paper.

First prepare the fillings, get that out of the way. Chop up the mozzarella and then (ew!) squeeze it with your hands so that you get really tiny bits. This is a bit gross but it’ll be a lot easier to get the cheese inside later without it poking out of the meatballs. Also grind or chop the dried chilis, or if you’re using fresh chilis, chop those up finely. Put them in a bowl or cup and put a teaspoon in. I’m telling you to do all of this now so that you don’t need to wash your hands in between touching mince and preparing stuffing.


OK, so now for the meat. Mix up all of the mince ingredients, and mix well, using your hands. Now start rolling little balls out of it. You can weigh them if you want to be precise, or you can just go for small-ish ping pong balls. Either way, make sure you make enough, or the fun of the Russian Roulette effect will be limited somewhat. The ones you’re going to fill later don’t have to be perfect yet, just more or less round.

Once you’ve got more or less ball-shaped bits of mince, divide them in a 5:1 ratio. For every 5 balls you fill with mozzarella, fill one with the chopped or ground chilis. Place a ball in the palm of your hand, poke your finger in until you’ve got a deep hole, put in some filling, then carefully close the meat around the hole, and roll the ball between your hands to make it nice and round.


Put them on an oven tray on some baking paper. Now shove them in the oven, 200 degrees, for about twenty minutes. Cut one open to see if they’re OK, then leave them to cool. A lot of the cheese ones will leak a bit of cheese as they cook, thus giving away their delicious and, more importantly, innocuous cheesy filling. That’s OK. With a bit of luck you’re serving this at a wild party, and people will be half drunk and the lights will be dimmed. Plus, it’s a game. People want to play, and no one likes a cheater. It’ll be fine. Enjoy, and have fun!

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1 Response to Meatballs for gamblers

  1. vader says:

    Je lijkt wel een zangvogeltje in de tuin: ook allemaal vuile rotzakken. Het is een leuk idee, waarop je veel varianten kunt bedenken. Je waarschuwende postertje (zimz) is al hilarisch, maar de foto met de sneaky geprepareerde balletjes is voorpretbevorderend.


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