A sweet and tangy meatball fit for a holiday party


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Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2012, 9:25 am
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By J.M. Hirsch
Sometimes failure can end up tasting pretty good. It certainly was the case with these meatballs.

I'd been aiming to creating a solidly delicious, all-purpose meatball suitable for tossing with marinara over spaghetti. Except it didn't quite work out that way. The meatballs, while certainly delicious, were both too tangy and too sweet to pair with your basic pasta sauce. And they certainly didn't agree with the mandatory Parmesan spaghetti calls for.

So I tried them in a curry sauce. Indian food is particularly welcoming to that play of sweet and heat, tangy and savory. But that wasn't quite right, either.

I was resistant to changing the meatballs themselves. Because while they didn't partner well with anything I'd tried, I still thought they were good. And they certainly were worth salvaging. Then it hit me. Embrace the tangy, sweet-and-savory side of these meatballs. Turn them into party food.

And so I ended up with these cocktail meatballs, perfect for setting out with toothpicks for a holiday gathering. And it turned out the sauce couldn't have been simpler — tomatoes and cranberry sauce.

Cocktail Meatballs with Cranberry Marinara
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Makes 50 meatballs
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 pounds ground beef (93 percent lean)
14-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
Splash of hot sauce


Heat the oven to 425 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, fennel, oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add the ground beef, then mix gently until completely blended. Divide the mixture into 50 balls, using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per ball. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberry sauce and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

When the meatballs are done, arrange on a platter, then spoon the cranberry mixture over them. Serve with toothpicks.

Nutrition information per meatball: 60 calories; 15 calories from fat (25 percent of total calories); 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 6 g protein; 270 mg sodium.

















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.








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