Earlier this summer, we shared a delicious coconut shrimp recipe that was served with a fantastic sweet chili dipping sauce! Shortly after we made that recipe, we had an impromptu get-together at our house after a day at the beach.
To feed our friends, we grilled up some burgers and also pulled all sorts of leftovers we had in the refrigerator from cooking recipes for the blog – including some of that sweet chili dipping sauce.
My husband Jack (always an adventurous eater!) decided to slather his grilled burger with some of the leftover dipping sauce. I tried a bite of his burger – and it was really delicious! Next thing we knew – all of our friends were spreading the sauce on their burgers – and we knew we were on to something good!
I suggested to Jack that the sweet chili dipping sauce would make a great sauce for some cocktail meatballs, and after a little experimenting in the kitchen – this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs was created!
These Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs are a delicious alternative to the classic grape jelly meatballs that so many people bring to parties. We started with a classic meatball recipe made with beef and pork – but changed up the spices a bit to complement the sweet chili sauce.
But the sauce is really the star! Fresh ginger, garlic and jalapenos are combined with dried fruit (we used pineapple), champagne vinegar, ketchup, sugar and seasonings. It has a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy flavor that complements the cocktail meatballs perfectly!
- 1 cup chopped white bread with crusts removed (Sandwich or Italian or sourdough or ciabatta, etc.)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup finely minced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ketchup
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers, seeds removed (unless you like it hot)
- ¼ cup dried pineapple pieces (or any other dried fruit such as mango)
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1½ tablespoons corn starch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl place bread and cream. Mix and press down so bread absorbs liquid.
- In a large bowl place egg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, sugar, vinegar and ketchup. Mix to combine.
- Go back to small bowl with bread and beat with a fork or small whip so mixture is mushy with no pieces.
- Add to large bowl along with pork and mix thoroughly to combine.
- Add beef and gently fold into mixture until just incorporated.
- Using a small scoop, scoop out 36 meatballs.
- Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Fill a small bowl with water and start wetting your hands and rolling each meatball and place on prepared pan. Keep wetting your hands as you roll.
- Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
- While meatballs are cooking make the sauce. Place ginger, garlic, peppers, dried fruit, vinegar, water, ketchup, sugar and salt in a blender and puree. Place this mixture in a medium to large sauce pan and heat.
- Mix water with corn starch and add to pan and stir to form a thick sauce.
- Place meatballs in sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
- To serve, remove meatballs from the sauce and serve on a platter.
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