Hands on time: 30 minutes
Cooking time : 1½ - 2 hours
Serves: 4-6 as a main with rice
Makes: 4½ -5 dozen appetizers (served with toothpicks)
3 lbs/1.3 kg minced beef &/or chicken
1 package onion soup mix (¼ cup/1.5 oz/40 g)
½ cup water
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 bottle (14 oz/455 ml) chili sauce (American style)
4 oz/ 125 ml grape or apple jelly
½ cup ginger ale
8 oz/250 ml apricot preserves
1 bay leaf
1. Combine first four ingredients in bowl and make the meatballs – about the size of a golf ball (soup spoon).
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the rest of the ingredients to make the sauce.
3. Cook the sauce over medium high heat until jelly has melted and sauce is thoroughly mixed (about 5 minutes).
4. Add meat balls (10 or so at a time), shake to coat with the sauce before adding more meatballs. Continue to add in batches of 10 until all the meatballs are in the pot. Simmer uncovered for the first 30 minutes. Gently (to avoid the meatballs from turning into mush. shake the pot occasionally to coat the meatballs and ensure even cooking. After about 1 hour gently use a spoon to stir the pot. Continue to cook for another hour or so. Take the bay leaf out after 30 minutes.
If you are serving the meatballs as a cocktail appetizer, drain most of the sauce off, toss with some jelly and place on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the jelly. Stick the meatballs with decorative toothpicks and, voila!
As a main course they go very nicely over garlic mashed potatoes, steamed rice (a little saffron turns it a gorgeous golden color), or couscous, to soak up the delicious gravy. Serve it with a side dish of broccoli or green beans and you have a healthy, colorful, and scrumptious meal.