Festive Holiday Meatballs
Making entertaining a little bit easier with this tasty appetizer.
What to make?
At the best of times, I struggle with appetizers. What kind of appetizers are not too boring? How much effort do I want to make? Will they be good? When guests come over for a visit, what do I serve? Dip and veggies? Something more complicated? Cheese and crackers? Over the holidays, I find it somehow easier to come up with ideas because I’m not as conscious of things like….nutrition and….calories. I’m not sure why that is but I feel like everyone basically knows, it’s a time to let loose, let go of some routines, enjoy life more.
Sharing holiday recipes
Over the next few weeks, I will share some of my holiday recipes. I hope that you enjoy them as I do. I’d love to hear from you about your holiday favourites!
Let’s start with something that everyone loves. Meatballs. So delicious and so versatile. One of my daughters is a vegetarian and she will be home for the holidays, so I do not want to exclude non-meat eaters, but for this recipe, I used pork and beef. I believe one could substitute beyond meat for an equally satisfying meatball.
What I love about meatballs is that they are the backdrop of flavour and happily accept any spice or herb you want to add to create something festive. For example, mediterranean with rosemary and oregano and garlic, mid-eastern with cumin, coriander and sprinkled with za’atar. Meatballs are amazing because you can make them and freeze them raw or cooked. Thaw and serve. Great for having around in case people drop by unexpectedly.
The base of these meatballs are basic; salt, pepper, onion, parsley if you have it. I like to make them slightly festive with nutmeg and allspice. You can serve them with a dipping sauce or simply pour this sweet and sour sauce over the meatballs and serve. My mom used to “cheat” and use her jelly as the base of the sauce, adding chili sauce, or just broth to make a delicious and festive topping. Serve the meatballs at room temperature.
Festive holiday meatballs
Makes about 40 meatballs.
1 lb each lean ground beef and ground pork
1 small onion finely chopped
1 small bunch parsley finely chopped
½ cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon allspice
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and have a baking sheet ready.
Place the meats and breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
Put the onion, parsley, spices in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. (or chop by hand)
Add to the meatballs and mix well with your hands.
Form meatballs the size of ½ a golf ball. Place on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are done.
While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.
In a medium sauce pan add:
1 250 ml jar red currant or crabapple jelly
1 cup chili sauce (homemade or Heinz is a good one)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Stir the sauce on low heat until the jelly as melted. The sauce can be refrigerated for 2-3 days after it has cooled and saved until you are ready to use. The meatballs also can be frozen until ready to use.
When ready to serve, heat the sauce gently on the stove top on low heat and add the meatballs. Allow them to heat very gently in the sauce on very low heat until they are heated through - about 20 minutes.
Serve with small skewers.
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