I am excited about this post for so many reasons! First of all I get to share with you what may be the world’s greatest recipe: my mother-in-law’s sweet and sour meatballs. Second of all, I am part of a wonderful new blogging group called World on a Plate! Started by Pola from Italian in the Midwest, World on a Plate is a purposefully small group that is all about cultural exchange. Each month we will have a theme (this month’s theme is meatballs!) and will post a recipe from our “home country” that fits the theme. We are currently eight bloggers who represent Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sweden, and the United States (that’s me!). If you are interested in joining and see that your home country is not represented, give Pola a shout!
In considering what an “American” meatball recipe might be, my mind immediately turned to Ashkenazi Jewish homestyle sweet and sour meatballs (although I did also consider making these). Every Jewish mother has a recipe for their own special riff on sweet and sour meatballs, and they usually have the craziest sounding ingredients like grape jelly and ginger snap cookies. My mother-in-law generously shared her recipe with me, which calls for tomato sauce, cranberry sauce, and shredded cabbage. Before you judge, please believe me when I say that these might just be the single most delicious things I have ever eaten.
A jar of tomato sauce is heated with a can of cranberry sauce until combined. Add your meatballs, top with shredded cabbage, cover, and cook for at least an hour and a half. Don’t uncover them for one second, just shake the pot every once in a while. The result is the single most tender, flavorful meatball you will ever eat. Ever. And you know how I feel about meatballs. Serve with rice for a meal, or make them small and serve with toothpicks as an unbeatable appetizer. I made this for my husband and one friend and we polished off the whole thing. All of it. We were practically licking our plates. These are that good.
The Shiksa blog gave me a great idea on how to make sweet and sour meatballs Kosher for Passover, if anyone is interested: use matzo meal in place of breadcrumbs! Genius. Oh, and for those of you in Israel, East-West in the Carmel Market now stocks cranberry sauce!
- 1 14-ounce (400 gram) jar plain tomato sauce
- 1 14-ounce (400 gram) can jellied cranberry sauce
- 2 pounds ground beef (Daryl likes 80/20)
- 2 eggs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ small cabbage, shredded
- In a large dutch oven or pot combine the tomato and cranberry sauces and simmer until fully combined.
- Combine the meat, eggs, garlic, onion, and breadcrumbs. Form into small balls and place in the pot with the tomato-cranberry sauce as you go.
- Cover with the shredded cabbage.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 90 minutes, shaking occasionally (do not uncover).
- Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer or with rice as a meal.