Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year Sweet and Sour Appetizer Meatballs

A last minute invitation reminded me of this party classic, which is quick and easy to prepare.  We had been invited to a dinner party (for hot pot) on Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Having a limited repetoire in this style of cooking and knowing my dinner companions would be largely Chinese, I selected Pear and Ginger Crisp, as they enjoy ginger and pears yet not having to compete with authentic Chinese cooking.  Then on Saturday while pondering how much crisp to make, we received a new invitation for that evening for yet another New Year celebration.  As I never like to go empty handed, I looked around my kitchen to see what I might prepare on short notice.

Thankfully, I had cocktail meatballs on hand, as well as bell peppers and the other basic items needed to quickly pull together this dish .  I modified my usual recipe to add some Chinese crushed red pepper paste, which gave this sweet and sour dish a little kick. 

It took me under an hour to prepare and ready it for transport.  Thankfully I have a crockpot with a lid strap and warming jacket that was kept the warm until we arrived and then heated throughout the evening. 

If you are looking for a colorful dish good for large gatherings, give these meatballs a try.

4 pounds  meatballs, frozen, cooked -- or fresh small meatballs if you prefer
28 ounces pineapple chunks in juice
         (typically one small and one large can, natural juice preferred)
1 1/4 cups  chicken broth
3/4 cup  vinegar
1 tablespoon  catsup
1 teaspoon  chili paste -- optional
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup  cornstarch
8 green onions -- thinly sliced
1 large  red bell pepper -- cut into 1" squares
1 large  green bell pepper -- cut into 1" squares

Bake the frozen cocktail meatballs according to the package directions or make your own from scratch as you prefer.

Drain the pineapple reserving the juice.  Set the pineapple aside.  Combine pineapple juice with 1 cup of the cihcken broth, vinegar, soy sauce and catsup in a large sauce pan. Add the optional chili paste if you prefer a little spice in the dish.  Heat over medium high until hot.  Stir in the sugar and until combined.  Mix the remaining quarter cup of chicken broth with the cornstarch in a separate dish until combined.  Stir into the hot broth mixture until thickened and the mixture just begins to boil.  (If you prefer youu can refrigerate the sauce at this stage for use later.)  Add the onion and peppers and cook for another minute or two to heat through. Stir in the reserved pineapple chunks and pour sauce over prepared meatballs.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

1 comment:

  1. David, my mother used to make these for cocktail snacks.. haven't had them in years. I used to sneak them before parties!!