Meatballs are a great holiday entertaining food. They are homey, well-loved and easy to do ahead of time.
But let's face it, they've been done. They've been done with grape jelly and ketchup. They've been done with beer and barbecue sauce. And they've been done with creamy gravies.
So how about something a little different? Something that adds some zing to the appetizer offerings. This recipe has all that, plus a do-ahead sensibility.
We've given directions for making the meatballs on the stove, but if you prefer you can transfer them to a slow cooker to keep them warm for your party. You also can keep them warm in a Dutch oven over a stovetop burner set on low.
CRANBERRY CHIPOTLE MEATBALLS
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Makes 50 meatballs
For the meatballs:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce), minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
16-ounce can cranberry sauce
12-ounce jar chili sauce
3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
Heat the oven to 425 F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked onion mixture, beef, pork, salt, black pepper, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, vinegar, eggs and breadcrumbs. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberry sauce, chili sauce and adobo sauce. Bring to a simmer.
When the meatballs are done, transfer them to a shallow bowl or rimmed platter. Pour the sauce over the meatballs.
Nutrition information per meatball (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 60 calories; 25 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 0 g fiber; 280 mg sodium.