It was at the height of my food snobbery (I've since been cured) when I first came across the preposterous "cocktail meatballs in grape jelly." I won't pretend I remember the occasion, but I do remember thinking, wow, that's sounds pretty disgusting. Then I tasted it. It was good. How was that possible?
The meatballs certainly weren't homemade, probably straight from the frozen foods aisle at Costco. The crock pot they were in wasn't a pretty sight – dirty-gray balls swimming in an oddly colored pink jelly. But, despite all of this, the dish was surrounded by happy, laughing people, drink in one hand, toothpick-skewered meatball in the other.
It was there I realized that when it comes to party food, some things just couldn't be explained. So, with that as my inspiration, I bring you these turkey cocktail meatballs with orange cranberry glaze. While not quite as "meaty" as the original, this much lower-fat version would make a nice addition to your entertaining repertoire.
One note about the diced hot peppers you'll see me add in the video: Sweet cancels heat. Do not be scared to add these because you don't like spicy food. When you're dealing with a sweet sauce, which this certainly is, the heat from the peppers really gets mellowed out, and you get the benefit of the flavor without all the fieriness.
By the way, you can make these ahead and freeze them without the glaze, then the day of the party, defrost them and simply reheat in the sauce. I hope you give these a try. Enjoy!
Turkey Cocktail Meatballs with Orange Cranberry Glaze Ingredients:
(makes about 32-36 cocktail-sized meatballs)
1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the glaze
1 cup canned jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 cup orange jelly or marmalade
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers, optional
1 tablespoon minced Fresno peppers, optional
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste