Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Currants

Take party fare to the next level with these quick, easy, feed-a-crowd bites. Cooking instructor Lili Courtney taught this recipe at a recent cooking class and we were blown away. We were scraping the last bits of the sauce from the pan with a spoon. Make a big batch of meatballs, pop them in the freezer and pull them out when you're ready to wow your guests. We love this recipe just as it's written, but we've also used this sauce to top pork tenderloin and chicken. Yum overload! We also talked about these delicious bites on our Podcast Smidgen. Lili and Anne dished about vintage recipes that deserve a re-boot. Give it a listen!

3 oz. fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (about 1-1/2 cups , split
1/4 cup Shallot Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 oz. lean ground beef
12 oz. ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese*
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbl capers, drained and chopped
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup Champagne Pear Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup dried currants

In a large skillet, toss half of the breadcrumbs with 2 Tbl Shallot Extra Virgin Olive Oil and ¼ tsp salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix the beef and pork with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Gently mix in the parmesan cheese*, half of the parsley, the egg, capers and remaining breadcrumbs. *Note: when we tested the recipe, we found our fridge missing parmesan cheese. We subbed with Nutritional Yeast with perfect results and flavor. It's a great ingredients to have on hand for cheesy flavor with no dairy.

Set a small bowl of cold water nearby and gently roll 1.5 oz portions of the meat into balls; you should get about 20 meatballs. Use the water to moisten your hands to help with stickiness.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbl Shallot Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Cook half of the meatballs, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Pour off all of the fat, put the pan back over medium-high heat. Add the chicken broth, Champagne Pear Balsamic Vinegar and sugar. Boil, stirring to incorporate any browned bits, until the mixture reduces by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the meatballs to the pan, lower the heat to medium, and braise the meatballs, shaking the pan occasionally, until the meatballs cook through--they should be firm to the touch and have no visible pink in the interior. Allow the sauce to thicken to a glaze that coats the meatballs, about 15 minutes. If the glaze reduces before the meatballs cook, add more broth, 1 Tbl at a time and continue cooking. If the meatballs cook before the glaze reduces, transfer the meatballs to a plate and continue cooking the glaze.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the pine nuts and currants, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parsley and toasted breadcrumbs.

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