Turkey Meatballs and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

Things have been pretty hectic since the move. Katie and I are both really busy at work, we’re still trying to pull together the new place and frantically trying to prepare for Christmas. Tonight will be a nice break from it all as our good friends, and new neighbours,  Saskia and Emily are throwing their annual Centretown Christmas party. Last year we had a full blown sit down dinner, pot-luck style. It was delicious. We had everything from the turkey to the mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce, stuffing and of course, wine. The problem was that everyone ate way too much, and unfortunately a lof of the leftovers went to waste.

So this year the girls planned it a bit differently. Still fancy. Still a potluck. But they asked everyone to bring an appetizer version of their favourite Christmas dish in order to avoid over eating and diminish the waste. For example, buddy Lucas is bringing mini pumpkin pies and our friend Lisa promised her holiday wontons with cranberry salsa. And me? Well I decided right away that I was going to bring the turkey. In meatball form. With a sweet and spicy cranberry barbecue sauce. Oh yeah. Merry Christmas.

Turkey Meatballs
500g lean ground turkey
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced
Salt and pepper to
taste

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce
1  cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 fancy molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Okay, let’s be honest – every potluck has meatballs. That’s just a well known fact. They are usually from a box, and usually pretty dry. These tasty little Christmas bites are sweet, savoury and spicy all at the same time. And by combining the classic holiday flavours of turkey and cranberries, they will be a hit at any holiday party.

Start by preheating your oven to 375F. Combine all of your meatball ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly mix together with your hands. Grab about 1 tablespoon worth of mixture and form meatballs one at a time  by rolling them around with your hands. As you roll your meatballs, place them on a well-greased baking sheet. Continue until you have rolled all of your meatballs. There should be about 30-40 meatballs, depending on how big you make them. Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked all the way through. Be sure to turn the meatballs once of twice while they cook to ensure that they do not stick.

Next make your sauce. Combine the cranberries, orange juice, fancy molasses, honey, brown sugar and chipotle peppers in a medium sauce pan. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Once the cranberries begin to soften and break up, add the ketchup, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the suace reduces and thickens up. Serve the meatballs with toothpicks on a platter with a side of the barbecue sauce. Happy holidays, and enjoy. 

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