Agrodolce Meatballs

Agrodolce is the Italian version of a Sweet and Sour sauce. It's a little spicy and sharp, with a background of sweetness you won't be able to get enough of. You know those delightful Sweet and Sour Meatballs that you sometimes find at football games or other big parties? They're so tender, and coated in a redish sticky sticky sauce. You eat one or two and then all of the sudden you're wondering, whats on these things to make them so delightfully sticky? How did they get the sauce this color? And then you're grossed out and don't want to touch another one. Yeah, cool me too. We're going to re-do that recipe, so it's full of good-for-you ingredients, and you don't have a care in the world as you're scooping them up.

I wasn't raised in what you would call a football house (hockey fans), but my husband sure was. As as result, I kinda like football, but what I really like about football is the snacks (typical).  My favorite football snacks are, (ew get ready) – that fake nacho cheese dip with chili with tortilla chips and those meatballs or hot dogs in a sweet and sour sauce. I don't even know where to begin on the cheese dip, so we're leaving that one behind and focusing on the meatballs! 

Make these in advance and freeze them until you're ready for the big game or the big party (they warm very well in a slow cooker, so you can keep them at just the right temp for a long period of time). I'm posting these on Memorial Day because it's supposed to be cold and rainy this weekend, so I thought everyone might appreciate some fun and festive food that warms your belly and soul! You can make these with any ground meat you choose – I did ground turkey but beef or pork would taste really good as well.



What You'll Need:

  • 2 pounds ground beef, chicken, or pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 small white onions, or about 1 cup minced
  • ¼ cup almond meal (with the skins) or 1/4 cup cassava flour (you could use coconut flour too, just use less)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (I use the kind that squeezes out in the tube)
  • salt and pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • 1 tiny can pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 3oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

What I Did:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the sauce first by combining all of the ingredients in a wide pot. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients and break apart the tomato paste.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until thickened.
  4. While it's simmering, make the meatballs. Place the onion, egg, cassava flour, oil, ginger, and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Pulse until combined.
  5. Place the ground turkey in a bowl and add the onion mixture. Combine gently with your hands. Don't mush too much or the meatballs will become tough. Form in to meatball shapes (if your mixture is too liquidy add a bit more flour).
  6. Place them on baking sheets--I like to have mine touching--and bake for 15 minutes. If you want crispy tops, place the oven on broil for the last two minutes.
  7. Add the meatballs to the sauce and let simmer, or add the whole thing to the slow cooker and stay at temperature. 


Anna GlennonComment