An appetizer with hints of bourbon- why not?
January arrives, and it’s time for a fresh start. All of the shimmering decor of the holidays is put away, and life in general becomes quieter. As a parent of college-aged students it brings about an even greater amount of quiet, as my two pack up their belongings and head off to their respective schools. It’s a bittersweet time for me. I miss the small conversations had over coffee and the extra companion on a trip to the store. I also enjoy the time as just two for my husband and me.
With the house down to a headcount of two on the second Sunday in January, the return to Tapas Monday was inevitable the following day. With holiday activities, work travel, and kids at home, we hadn’t celebrated this event in at least a month, if not two. This would not be a half done event, it would be a meal with a theme running through it.
Since cooking is one way I like to give to others, I decided to make this Monday’s theme an homage to things my husband loves. The easy first choice was bourbon. An aficionado of this amber liquor, I would infuse it into several of the dishes, which wouldn’t be too difficult to do. He also adores meatballs in almost any shape and form. The combination of these two loves was simple- find a way to incorporate bourbon into meatballs.
The key to this recipe is the sauce. Although there is bourbon in the meatball mixture, that flavor seems to get lost. However, the sauce delivers a decent punch of bourbon. For this recipe, don’t feel the need to hit your top shelf liquor. The bourbon is mixed with many other ingredients, so the elegant hint from a $50 bottle would be lost. Use whatever well bourbon you have on hand. You won’t notice a difference.
- 1-1/2 pounds 85% lean hamburger
- 2 Tb. bourbon
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tb. worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup ketchup
- 2 Tb. maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Using hands, mix until ingredients are well blended.
- Form into walnut-sized balls and place on rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepot; bring to a boil.
- Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Finishing the meatballs
- Combine cooked meatballs and sauce in a small crockpot or medium saucepot over low heat.
- Simmer for 2 hours before serving.