We’d like to take a trip to Hawaii. It’s not too far. We could find some cheap travel deal and skiddadle over there for a long weekend or even a full week. Of course, we’d go to a luau, drink pineapple laced drinks, toss around coconuts, lay on sandy beaches and feel the flowery breeze blow over our faces. Yes, we’d love to take a trip to Hawaii, but we don’t have the funds to do so at this time. That’s too bad. Surely, this must be a great time to visit the islands, but that trip will have to wait. Good thing a friend hosted a Hawaiian themed dinner. It wasn’t quite the same as being able to say mahalo after someone swirls a lei around your neck, but sometimes you have to settle. Though we do not encourage folks to settle in other parts of their lives, in this instance, we had to do just that!
Our job was the appetizer. We figured little meatballs would do just fine for that. Fresh meatballs are always appreciated, right? Think spaghetti and meatballs, albondigas, Italian Wedding Soup, meatball and provolone subs. When there’s a homemade meatball in any of those dishes, you know it! We have been known to use a premade meatball before, but this dish demands the real thing. We think you’d agree. We sprinkled a bit of cardamom into the beef for that je ne sais quoi, and there are little melty bits of caramelized ginger in the sauce that pop in your mouth and then fade out with each chew. James Taylor may have had Carolina on his mind, but all we could think about was Hawaii.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs – Serves 4 to 6
1 pound ground beef
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon half and half or milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
14 ounces pineapple chunks (with liquid)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs except flour and oil. Mix with hands until just incorporated, adding more breadcrumbs if necessary to pull the meat together. Shape ground beef into balls about 1″ big and place on a platter.
2. Once all the balls have been shaped, drizzle grapeseed oil in a wide pan. When hot, cook meatballs in batches until browned, approximately 1-3 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Save the oil from cooked meatballs when done.
3. Mix cornstarch into cold water until smooth. Add to the same pan that just held the meatballs and stir continuously to combine.
4. Add remaining sauce ingredients and stir well to mix everything. Allow to heat over a medium low flame and cook until it sauce just begins to bubble.
5. Add the meatballs back to the sauce and simmer on low until thick, approximately 5-7 minutes.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.