My husband drinks Manhattans, so we always have some kind of bourbon around. What I like to do, especially around this time of year, is collect mini bottles of all sorts of liquor. It's so much cheaper than investing in full sizes, and allows me to play and experiment. So start your collections, we'll put them to good use in the next few months!
Meatballs are an international food, but I do believe the idea of making little minis, sticking a toothpick in, and slathering them with bourbon sauce is a wholly American invention.
This recipe makes a lot of meatballs, I'm going to freeze half, which you can do either before or after cooking.
Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs
oven to 350
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
1/2 cup (1 sleeve, finely crushed) Ritz Cracker crumbs (you can use plain bread crumbs)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
lots of fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil (for browning the meatballs)
- Put the above ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the meat as you put it in. Mix together, using the tips of your fingers to gently combine everything without compacting the meat. Form into small 1" balls, I use a small scoop to make them nice and uniform.
- Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, working in batches. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until cooked through. (Check with a thermometer, they should read 160 degrees)
- Place cooked meatballs into the sauce, and let heat through until ready to serve. Serve on a plate with toothpicks, a drizzle of sauce, and lots of napkins. Serve a bowl of sauce on the side for extra dipping.
1 jar apricot preserves (about a cup, give or take)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp hot chili sauce (use mild chili sauce if you can't take the heat)
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup water
- Combine all the above ingredients in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until thick.