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 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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