We’ve been prepping this week to have people over for a game day party. Even though the Packers didn’t make it to the Big Game, there’s still an excuse to party!
We LOVE meatballs as a party food. Put out some toothpicks, turn on the crock pot to keep them warm, and people can snack all afternoon long.
These Cranberry Glazed Meatballs have a deep sweetness from brown sugar, the bright and slightly tart flavor of juicy cranberries, and just a hint of a kick from some cayenne.
You could easily use frozen meatballs with this sauce recipe (just skip straight to the instructions for making the sauce). However, we decided to make our own meatballs out of the last of some ground venison we had in the freezer. Making meatballs from scratch isn’t difficult (think meatloaf or burgers, but mini). And, it allows you to do fun things like add nutmeg and a bit of black pepper, making these meatballs the perfect complement to the cranberry glaze.
- 1 tsp butter
- ½ onion, minced
- ½ lb ground beef (or venison)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ c breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1 c water
- ½ c white sugar
- ½ c brown sugar
- 8 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp prepared, yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- Heat butter in a medium, non-stick frying pan. Add onions and saute until golden. Remove from heat.
- Mix onions with remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to thoroughly incorporate, but do not over mix.
- Return the non-stick frying pan to medium heat.
- Shape 1 Tbsp of meat mixture in a ball, roughly 1” in diameter. As meatballs are shaped, add to hot pan. Heat meatballs until the entire outside is seared. Set aside. (If you were eating the meatballs straight from here, you would want to cook them 7-10 min until firm, but since we will be cooking them in the sauce, we just need to lock in the juices and set the shape.)
- Continue until all meat mixture has been used.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugars to a boil, stirring often. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Add cranberries and cinnamon stick. Simmer 5-7 minutes, until the cranberry skins pop.
- Add mustard, salt, cayenne, and cloves. Mix well.
- Add meatballs to sauce and simmer 5-10 minutes, until glaze thickens and meatballs are warmed through.