Friday, December 15, 2006

Cocktail Meatballs

My department at work had its annual Christmas party tonight. Originally I had planned on making my version of the Bacardi Rum Cake because it tastes better if made a day or two ahead and I had to cover a couple of nightshifts this week and wouldn't have a lot of time to bake. That idea got nixed by the organizers. They said they had enough deserts. Could I please make an entree? Swedish Meatballs were suggested. I loathe Swedish Meatballs, but I was willing to make them. Then I suggested Cocktail Meatballs. This idea appealed to me for a couple of reasons. I actually like cocktail meatballs. They are quick and easy to make. And best of all, I've never made them so I could try out a new recipe! I spent about an hour surfing the internet looking for a recipe that had the fewest ingredients and steps since I would be cooking on a few hours worth of sleep. I found the perfect recipe that was originally published in a women's magazine in the sixties.

My first challenge was mincing the onions. I have difficulty cutting onions into tiny pieces. These meatballs had to be 1" in diameter so I couldn't have huge chunks of onions in them. I threw the onion into the food processor which proceeded to shred them. At least it was in tiny "pieces". My next challenge was making 4 to 5 dozen meatballs. The meatball recipe I use makes 2 dozen meatballs so I used that as a guide and made 4 dozen meatballs. They looked small until I cooked them. Then I realized that they were an awkward size. A little large for just one bite but two small to be eaten in two bites. I have yet to perfect the art of cooking round meatballs. No matter how hard I try, the side that is cooking always gets flat so that I end up with a meatball with several flat sides rather than a nice round sphere.

The sauce was easy and after adding the meatballs, did thicken nicely. Surprisingly, the end result was quite tasty. One of my co-workers has requested the recipe.

Verdict: Yum!! This one's a keeper!!

Cocktail Meatballs
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon fresh parsely, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
1 12oz. bottle chili sauce
1 10 oz. jar grape jelly
Combine the first 9 ingredients, mixing well. Shape into 1" meatballs. Cook in an electric skillet in hot shortening over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until browned. Cool meatballs by draining on paper towels. Discard grease.
Combine chili sauce and grape jelly in a medium saucepan (or same electric skillet); stir well until jelly is melted. Add meatballs and simmer UNCOVERED on low for 30 minutes (to thicken the sauce), stirring occasionally. Serve hot meatballs with toothpicks out of the skillet or a crockpot or chafing dish set on low to keep warm.
Makes about 4 to 5 dozen meatballs, depending on size.
Recycle: Worcestershire sauce bottle, chili sauce bottle, jelly bottle
Compost: onion skins, eggshell

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