Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

Jamie Oliver’s Mountain Meatballs

It just might be the heartiest meatball out there.

When you share or print a 12 Tomatoes recipe,
you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More

When I saw the name Mountain Meatballs, I was intrigued. That doesn’t sound like just any old meatball… that sounds like a hearty meatball, something you could make a meal out of. And that’s exactly what these are. These meatballs are gigantic, clocking in at almost a third pound each. They’re meal-sized. And they’re stuffed with melty, ooey-gooey cheese. And they simmer in a “chili sauce” that’s full of fresh flavor but just quirky enough to feel very Jamie Oliver. In other words, they’re not your average meatball.

Let’s just get this out of the way first thing — the ingredient list is not short. There’s ground beef and onions and cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs and eggs and then a whole ‘nother list of stuff for the sauce. But it’s worth it. Remember, each one of these is basically an entire meal.

Jamie has you use red onions and cook them down first before you mix them into the meatball mixture, which is otherwise comprised of three pounds of ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, mustard, oregano, cumin, and some salt and pepper. Not too crazy.

What does feel a little crazy is that you only portion it into eight meatballs. Yes, just eight. Yes, they’re huge.

You tuck a generous portion of cheddar cheese into the center of each meatball and then close it bake up before setting it in a dish to bake in the oven.

And while they bake, you start working on a “chili sauce” on the stovetop. This is the sauce I said was a little quirky and this is why: I don’t really know what this sauce is.

It’s certainly not chili. And it’s not “chili sauce” that you buy from Heinz that’s kind of like a spicy ketchup. But it is good, so we’ll just go with it.

You start by cooking more red onions down with some chopped red bell peppers, five cloves of garlic, and some fresh red chilies and then you stir in Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, coffee, and diced tomatoes.

You let it simmer for a bit to thicken and then you pour it over and around the meatballs and pop it all back in the oven for ten minutes or so. And then you get a meatball unlike any other you’ve ever had.

Aside from the hearty size, they’re kind of walking a line between being rustic and indulgent. (Maybe that’s what 1/3 pound of beef and a filling of cheese gets you.) And the sauce is both sweet and tangy, with a zestiness that feels Western and not at all like it’s meant to go on top of spaghetti. But really, you don’t need anything else to complete these — they totally stand on their own.

Yield(s): Serves 8

15m prep time

50m cook time

Allergens: Eggs, Milk, Gluten

When you share or print a 12 Tomatoes recipe,
you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups hot coffee
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or olive oil. Set aside.
  2. First, make the meatballs:
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let onions cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, mustard, oregano, cumin, breadcrumbs, eggs, and cooled onions, and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix mixture together until well combined.
  5. Divide meat mixture into 8 balls. Pick up one ball, shaping it further if needed, then stick your thumb into the center to make a deep pocket. Stuff pocket with a generous amount of grated cheese.
  6. Pinch the meat back together to close the hole and pat meat back into a ball with your hands. Place in prepared baking dish, then repeat with remaining meat mixture and cheese.
  7. Bake until sizzling and golden, 25-30 minutes.
  8. While the meatballs bake, work on the chili sauce:
  9. Wipe out the pan you used to cook the onions, then place over medium heat. Add another two tablespoons of olive, followed by the onion, peppers, garlic, fresh chilies, and paprika. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
  10. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, coffee, and diced tomatoes, and bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Remove cooked meatballs from oven and drain off as much fat as you can from the pan. Pour chili sauce over and around the meatballs and return to oven for 10 minutes.
  13. Serve garnished with fresh parsley, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver.