Thursday, May 22, 2008

Easy Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs

Finally, I have a semi-sensical reason to post this meatball recipe! I actually made these ridiculously easy, totally delicious sweet and sour cocktail meatballs when the Super Bowl was on. It would have been nice to post about them before the game, but since that did not happen, I was waiting for one of those occasions when people are looking for easy appetizers to serve—like Memorial Day.

I’m heading off to Key West (we’ve live in Fort Lauderdale for almost 4 years and never been!) this weekend for scuba diving, pie (!) and absolutely no work issues to worry about—and maybe a Margarita, you know if the spirit moves me. But, if you’re having a party or a cook out and want to add a little more meat to menu, this one’s for you. It took me forever to find a recipe for sweet and sour meatballs because I was searching for Swedish meatballs and wondering why all the recipes I found were not at all what I had in mind. For some reason, I thought Swedish and sweet and sour were the same thing, but alas, no.

When I finally located an easy one on, I didn’t really care that it did not sound to me like the ultimate meatball recipe—I just liked that it was easy. Well. Despite the fact that these take no weird ingredients and very little time and effort, they are totally delicious and addictive. It’s that secret—or not so secret—ingredient, Heinz chili sauce and a good hit of brown sugar. You don’t have to fuss around frying the meatballs first; just simmer them in the sauce where they become moist and wonderful. You can make this ahead and reheat it anyway you like. Put out a jar of toothpicks and they will disappear faster than Tom Brady’s dreams of a perfect season.

Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs
I adapted this recipe from one on It called for garlic powder, which I don’t like and don’t have, so we seasoned our meatballs like we tend to season basic burgers. You can use just salt and pepper; adobo seasoning; chili powder or cayenne pepper; or a few pinches of dried herbs. We cooked a tiny bit of meat in a skillet to check our seasoning. I recommend this easy extra step, so you can go forward with the confidence that your big batch of meatballs is going to be perfectly seasoned. I haven't tried these with turkey, but I think it would work well, and the cooking method would keep the meat pleasantly moist.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
12 ounces chili sauce (such as Heinz)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine beef, seasonings, egg and breadcrumbs. Cook a small patty to check seasoning and adjust if needed. Form into small meatballs.

Pour the chili sauce into a large, heavy skillet or saucepan; fill the chili sauce bottle with water, shake well and add to skillet. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice; bring to a simmer.

Add the meatballs to the sauce; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked through. If you leave them on longer, it’s okay. Transfer to a bowl and serve right away or cover and chill and reheat in the microwave.

1 comment:

Peabody said...

I LOVE these things. Whenever I go to parties I look for two things, meatballs or cocktail franks that are in sweet and sour sauce. Soooo good.