Cheesy crumbed pork-and-herb meatballs

These meatballs are based on the popular Italian arancini – deep-fried, cheese filled risotto balls. It’s always a hit as festive canapés, served with sweet chilli sauce.



  • 500g pork mince (ask your butcher)
  • 500ml white breadcrumbs
  • a handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • the leaves of a few sprigs of thyme, chopped (discard the hard stems)
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 5ml salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 100g smoked mozzarella (or soft cheese of your choice), cut into 1cm squares
  • 500-750ml canola oil, for deep frying 


  • 125ml flour
  • 5ml smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 500ml fresh white breadcrumbs 


Put the mince, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, egg, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and mix well.  Using a tablespoon, remove enough of the mince mixture to make a meatball of about 3-4cm in diameter.  Put a cheese square in the middle and shape close the mince around it until the cheese is entirely enveloped.  Roll into a neat ball and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the mince mixture.  
Put the flour in a wide bowl, add the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Mix with a fork and set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until the whites and yolks are only just combined.  Put the crumbs in a third bowl.  
To finish
Now, working on meatball at a time, dip the meatballs in the flour mixture, then in the egg, and lastly in the crumbs so it’s evenly covered, then put it on a serving tray or baking sheets. Repeat until all the meatballs are covered in crumbs.  Heat the oil* in a pot (you’ll need about 4cm of oil) and deep-fry the meatballs in batches until golden brown.  Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen towel or a drying rack over a baking sheet.  Serve warm with sweet chilli sauce as a dipping sauce. *Test the oil’s heat using a few crumbs. If it starts smoking, the oil is too hot. Be very careful and keep the oil to a medium heat throughout.   TIP Make your own breadcrumbs with slices of bread and a food processor. Fresh bread works too, but two- to three-day-old bread works better.