Cocktail Meatballs with Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce
Terrific for gatherings because they reheat so well! These baked meatballs are extra juicy and tasty due to: a) using a combination of beef and pork; b) my little trick to soak the breadcrumbs in grated onion which is a technique I used in most of my meatballs, including the wildly popular Italian Meatballs and Swedish Meatballs (read the rave reviews!). The Sauce and Meatballs individually are lovely, but combined together they are sensational. Recipe VIDEO below.
3/4cuppanko breadcrumbs(Note 1)
250 g / ½ lb beef mince(ground beef) (Note 2)
250 g / ½ lb pork mince(ground pork) (Note 2)
1garlic clove, minced
Sweet and Sour Sauce (makes ~ 1 cup):
¼ cup / 65 mlwater
½ cup / 125 mlapple cider vinegar
1/2 cup / 100gbrown sugar(adjust to taste)
¼ cup / 65 mltomato ketchup
1tbspsoy sauce(Note 2)
Finely chopped chives
Preheat oven to 220C / 430F (standard) or 200C / 390F (fan / convection).
Grate onion into a large bowl using a standard box grater. Add breadcrumbs and mix to coat. Leave to soak for a few minutes.
Add remaining Meatballs ingredients. Mix well with your hands until combined.
Measure out level tablespoons and dollop onto work surface. Roll into balls. (My way of rolling balls - fast!)
Place a rack on a baking tray (optional, Note 3). Spray rack generously with oil. Place balls on the rack.
Bake for 25 minutes or until browned. Remove tray from oven, immediately transfer meatballs in a large bowl (if you leave them, they stick).
Drizzle with enough sauce to coat the meatballs. Toss gently, then transfer to serving bowl / plate. Garnish with chives, if desired.
Serve meatballs with toothpicks and remaining Sauce for Dipping.
SWEET and SOUR SAUCE:
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine.
Bring to simmer, stirring / whisking regularly, then simmer until it thickens to a syrup consistency – or thicker if you like. (about 3 minutes)
Pour meatballs in a bowl, pour a bit of sauce to coat. Serve with remaining sauce, garnished with chives.
1. Panko breadcrumbs are larger than normal breadcrumbs, yielding softer meatballs. You’ll find panko breadrumbs in the Asian section in most supermarkets, or sometimes alongside regular breadcrumbs.2. MEAT: Feel free to use all beef or all pork, or even chicken and turkey would be terrific for these. I use a combination of beef and pork because it’s a great combination for flavour, juiciness and tenderness in a meatball. Using all beef will be firmer, all pork is… well, porkier. And juicier, because ground pork is more tender than beef.3. Rack is optional. It keeps the balls rounder and allows them to brown more even all over.4. SAUCE: This Sweet & Sour Sauce is not obscenely sweet, it’s got a nice balance of sweet and tang. If you want sweeter, just stir through more sugar at the end, or more vinegar for more tang. The soy sauce adds salt but doesn’t make it taste Chinese / Asian at all. It smells sharp when cooking so avoid breathing in the fumes!!!5. MAKE AHEAD: These reheat very well because they are so juicy. Remove meatballs from rack as soon as you take them out of the oven. Cool uncovered, then cover and store in the fridge or freezer until required. Store Sauce separately. To serve, thaw (if frozen) then reheat in the microwave. Warm Sauce slightly, then toss meatballs in some Sauce and serve the rest as a Dipping Sauce on the side.KEEPING WARM while serving - slow cooker on warm setting is ideal!6. SERVINGS: This makes about 25 meatballs, about 2.5 cm / 1" each. 7. Nutrition per meatballs, assuming all the Sauce is consumed which it probably won't be, so the actual calories per meatball will be lower.