Billy Goat Meatballs

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Makes about 2 dozen, 1 1/2-inch meatballs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1  tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup goat cheese
2  pounds ground goat meat
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt and the thyme. Lower heat to medium and cook, stir- ring frequently, until the onions are soft and nicely browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Combine cooled onion mixture with remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-sized meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the meat firm- ly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being care- ful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.

Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165 degrees.

Allow meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.