Sunday, October 24, 2010

Catching up: Meatballs by request

I'm back!!  After a couple of crazy weeks of work and play, I'm finally in possession of some spare time to get back to noshing and writing about it.  Hooray!  Now we get to play catch-up.

First up: hot and spicy meatballs.  An old friend from elementary school, who's been following the blog, requested that I put these up for the enjoyment of all.  I can distinctly remember making them for some sort of French class potluck... which, if I recall correctly, was only for the teachers and staff.  We students just got to translate the recipe into French, bring in the finished product, and help transform the resource room into a romatic bistro.  Looking back now, I'm not sure if that counts as child labour... ah well, c'est la vie.

Regardless, these little cocktail meatballs are definitely worth an entry.  My mom used to make these for potlucks or "finger-food" parties, where they were always a hit.  How could they not be?  They're the perfect size for spearing with toothpicks, and end a hot component to the otherwise chilled selection of cheeses, dips, and crudités typically found at these gatherings.  Of course, as pre-cooked frozen boxed cocktail meatballs became more prevalent, this homemade version became too much work.  In fact, it took my dear sister Sar quite a long time to dig the recipe out of the archives.

THE ARCHIVES.  Stand in awe.  We weren't sure if the recipe would be filed under "meatball" or "Swedish"; turns out, it was under H for "hot and spicy".
EUREKA!  Thanks Sar!  The hilarious part: my fifth-grade handwriting still graces the page.  Sar thought it was our brother's clumsy scrawl... which doesn't saying much for my manual dexterity at age 11.
Once we found the recipe, and Sar immortalized it in digital format (thanks again seester!!), I could re-create the meaty goodness that were these little gems.  And now, Jo, for your enjoyment:

Hot and Spicy Meatballs
From my wonderful mother (whose primary source, alas, is not known)

Makes about 50 meatballs and lots of tasty sauce

  • 1 ½ lb ground beef
    ½ lb ground pork
    2 eggs
    ½ cup breadcrumbs
    ¼ cup finely chopped green onion
    1 tbsp horseradish
    1 tsp salt
    ½ tsp pepper

    ¼ cup brown sugar
    1 tsp dry mustard
    ½ cup each ketchup, chili sauce, water, & grape jelly**
    ¼ cup cider vinegar
    1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    ¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced

** Don't laugh.  The grape jelly is key.  You can find chili sauce in the condiments aisle (Heinz makes one), but I substituted hot salsa with no ill effects.
  1. Meatballs:  mix all ingredients and shape into small balls.  Bake at 350ªF 10-15 minutes until well browned
  2. Sauce: In saucepan combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil, sturring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Add meatballs and simmer 15 minutes.  Serve warm.
Yes, folks, that cookie portioner can do more than just sweet dough.
Sauce in the making, with baked meatballs.
Marriage of the happy couple: meat and sauce.  Mmm.
While traditionally these would be served as an appetizer, I made a meal of them with some red-skinned garlic mashed potatoes and some steamed broccoli.  Quite a delish dish.
 To me, the great thing about these meatballs (aside from their complex flavour and universal appeal) is the fact that they're baked instead of fried, allowing you to quickly cook up large batches.  It also saves on the mess of pan-frying.  I may apply this procedure to other meatballs, as well.  Which reminds me... I need to make a point to watch Nonna like a hawk next time she makes spaghetti and meatballs.  Hers are always PERFECT.

Still enjoying leftovers of these spherical carnivorous delights,

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