Mango Cherry Braised Meatballs

As I was reflecting on the recipes I have written for this blog, I realized there haven’t been any appetizer recipes yet. I have mainly focused on entrees and side dishes, though there have been a couple of  desserts.

As more holiday parties are coming up, I thought we would all enjoy having a nice appetizer to add to our repertoire. These meatballs will be a great way welcome guests to your home, or are a perfect addition to a potluck.

You may want to tinker with this recipe a little, depending on your tastes. You can change the flavors by trying different fruits in the braising liquids. You can also try using different sodas to adjust tastes.

Equipment

  • Heavy braiser or skillet with lid
  • Tongs
  • Immersion blender

IngredientsMeatball Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 lb. mild Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef (You don’t want to use meat that is too lean, I used 80/20 fat blend)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. hot smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, or butter
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 fresh jalapeño
  • 1 can 14 oz. canned tart cherries, undrained
  • 1 12 oz. can soda, I used Coca-Cola
  • Corn starch, optional
  • Honey, optional

Steps

  1. Add lamb, sausage, ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, and spices to large mixing bowl.Ingredients in Bowl
  2. Using your hands, gently mix ingredients together. Everything does not have to be evenly combined, being careful not to overwork the meat. Over-mixing causes tough meatballs.Mixed Meat
  3. Form balls about 1.5″ across by pinching off a small quantity of meat mixture and rolling into a ball in your hands. You want to keep them about the same size.Rolled Meatballs
  4. Once you have formed the balls (about 3 dozen), place them in freezer for about half an hour to firm up.
  5. While the meatballs are in the freezer, dice mango and jalapeño.Diced Fruits
  6. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  7. Melt coconut oil in braiser and sear the outside of the meatballs in batches until they are all browned on the outside.Searing Meatballs
  8. Add mango and jalapeño to braiser, sauteing until they are both soft.Deglazing Pan
  9. Add can of cherries with juice and soda and stir to combine, scraping bottom of the pan.
  10. Place meatballs in liquid, cover and bake in oven for 45 minutes.Meatballs in Braising Liquid
  11. Once meatballs are cooked through, remove from oven. Take meatballs out of liquid and set aside.
  12. Heat braising liquid over medium heat, and blend until fruit is broken down and sauce is smooth, using immersion blender. Blending Mango Liquid
  13. If you want a thicker sauce, you can add a little corn starch and blend. A little honey will also give the sauce a bit of sweetness.
  14. Add meatballs back to sauce and simmer until ready to serve.Meatballs in Sauce
  15. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve with leftover sauce.

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