Monday, October 10, 2011

The Little Yellow Box: Favourite Recipe #3 - Sweet & Sour Meatballs... by Barbara (Ruth)

When I flipped through my mother's little yellow recipe box, this recipe caught my eye. Written out in her distinctive handwriting, yellowed with age and stained with tomato sauce, this 40+ year-old card brought back a lot of warm and cozy memories.

Mum made great big meatballs covered with rich sauce that was spicy and sweet at the same time. She baked them in a glass casserole dish, and then served it over plain white rice. I remember rave reviews, winter dinners, and always having second helpings.

So it's a little odd that I looked at this recipe rather closely before making it, and decided something was wrong. Here it is:

1.5 lb ground beef
1/2 C fresh bread crumbs
1 T soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
2-8oz cans tomato sauce
2 T oil
3/4 C finely chopped onion
1/2 green pepper sliced
2 T orange marmalade
2 T vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger
2 T cornstarch
1 C water

There are no written instructions, after all Mum made this recipe a hundred times. I'm assuming the first three ingredients were the meatballs (no eggs? no seasoning?), and the rest the sauce (water? vinegar? canned sauce?). The sauce sounds pretty thin, and I'm sure something is missing here, but I'm not sure what. I'll have to ask Mum next time I see her if she did anything different that she just didn't write down.

[Update: after reading this posting, my mother replied "there is more than one way to skin a cat! The ingredients are all there, and no eggs! Tsk Tsk!" Well I guess she told me!:)]

So... I didn't make it. Instead, I found this recipe from Canadian Living and made it. I highly recommend this! My nephew loved it - mind you he loves everything, but still...

1 egg
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 T grated carrot
1 tsp grated ginger root
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb lean ground pork

Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 C pineapple juice
1/3 C ketchup
1/4 C cider vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 C maple syrup
1 T cornstarch
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp grated ginger root

In large bowl, beat egg until frothy. Stir in bread crumbs, 2 T of the green onions, carrot, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix in pork. Roll by level tablespoonfuls into balls. Bake on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet in 375F oven until no longer pink inside (15 mins). (I would not bother with the foil if I were doing it again. Mine stuck to the foil and came apart a bit when I tried to remove them. I'd just put right on a cookie sheet and maybe even spray with Pam if the meat is extra lean.)

Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, ketchup, vinegar, maple syrup and cornstarch. Set aside. In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and ginger, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice mixture. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. (If I were doing this again, I would add mushrooms to the garlic, onions and ginger, and I would place slices of green pepper over the casserole before putting it into the oven.)

Transfer to baking dish. Cover and bake in 350F oven, stirring once, for 25 minutes. Serve over rise (I used jasmine) and sprinkle with the remaining green onions.

1 comment:

  1. The meatballs that you did make look great! Nothing beats Canadian Living for recipes.