"Savory meatballs in a sweet and tangy sauce that's spiked with Metaxa. Serve them with pasta or as a snack at your next party!"
I have a confession:
It was only a few months ago that I discovered just how awesome meatballs are.
Seriously, who knew?
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, this fact about me probably doesn’t surprise you. If it’s your first time here, I’ll give you the gist: I suffered from a severe case of picky-eater syndrome until well into my 20’s. This means I often run into scenarios where I’m completely blindsided by discovering new food, which wouldn’t be so bad except that I usually handle those situations in the most ungraceful and fangirl way possible, embarrassing both myself and occasionally The Boyfriend.
So let this be a word of caution to the parents out there whose children fight them over trying new foods: be persistent and don’t give up, because otherwise those children may end up the 30-something at the party standing far too close to the hors d’oeuvre trays, single handily devouring an artful display of finger food with a wide-eyed look of wonder that has the other guests keeping a safe distance.
That was how I discovered meatballs. Thankfully, I wasn’t at a big party – it was just a small gathering with the neighbors across the street – but I had enough wine in me to make me a little more chatty than normal. So when they set out a tray of meatballs for us to snack on until the “real” food was ready, I figured I’d eat one or two just to be polite because I was absolutely, positively certain I didn’t like meatballs. And really, who eats meatballs on their own, without any bread or sauce or noodles to help them out? Is this really a thing that people do?
Apparently it is, because I ate half of the tray myself, all while telling everyone over and over again this was my first time trying meatballs and that’s so crazy because these are amazing (remember, I had all that wine in me). Our hosts just sort of shrugged and laughed at my enthusiasm, not realizing that they had unknowingly created a monster. I tend to obsess over new food discoveries, so since that fateful day I’ve been trying meatballs in all of their most popular forms, from classic spaghetti to cheesy subs, and I’ve yet to find one a combination I didn’t like. But at the same time, I think I still prefer to have meatballs all by themselves, with no other tastes taking away from their inherent delicious flavor.
Because I do that.
Now it’s “my thing” that I do.
So when it came time to make plans for our annual New Years Eve party, I knew what I wanted to do: try my hand at making some meatball hors d’oeuvre from scratch.
I figured they’d make perfect finger food to grab in between card games and poker blinds while we all waited for the ball to drop.
From there, the next (and hardest) challenge was finding the perfect recipe.
I was already planning on bringing some Midori Sour Jello Shots to the party, and with it being New Years, I wondered if there were any meatball recipes out there that had a touch of alcohol in them.
Because why not?
As it turns out I found exactly what I was looking for in this recipe for Metaxa Meatballs. The sauce is sweet and tangy (and boozy!) which seemed like a perfect fit for the festivities that night. And with how much everyone at the party loved them, I have a sneaking suspicion these meatballs will be a staple for any gathering The Boyfriend and I host or attend in the near future. Which is more than fine by me – I’m still high in my food addiction stage and need to get my fix.
So bring on the Super Bowl parties!
These meatballs are sure to be a winner!
For the Meatballs
For the Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients for the meatballs: panko breadcrumbs, smoked paprika*, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Add the ground pork and beef to the bowl. Using your hands, kneed the meat into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Use a small ice cream scoop (or just continue to use your hands) to create meatballs that are 1 inch in size. Roll each one in your hand for 5-10 seconds to ensure the balls are even and keep their shape.
- Place rolled meatballs on a large baking sheet. It's okay if they are packed tightly.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
For the Metaxa Sauce
- Add all of the Metaxa sauce ingredients into a large saucepan: ketchup, Metaxa, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, spicy brown mustard, honey, garlic powder, smoked paprika*, chili powder, and salt. Whisk ingredients together.
- Cover and let simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Putting it all Together
- Remove meatballs from the oven and gently add them to the pot with the Metaxa sauce. Coat meatballs with sauce, then cover and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Serve immediately.
* If you have trouble locating smoked paprika at your local store (like I did), you can make your own by combining 2 parts paprika to 1 part cumin. For this recipe you need a total of 2 tsp smoked paprika (separated), so you could combine a little less than 1 and 1/2 tsp paprika and a little more than 1/4 cumin to achieve a similar taste to smoked paprika.