Bourbon Glazed Meatballs with Sheep’s Milk Feta

These tasty little bites are a great make ahead dish and a must have for you holiday entertaining.  Try them, I promise they will be a hit.  The key to a nice moist meatball is using milk and fresh breadcrumbs to make the meatball and not over mixing or over cooking them.  If you follow these simple tips then you’ll end up with a tasty morsel of deliciousness.  The bourbon glaze is subtle but has lots of flavor, as does the meatball itself.  My favorite part though is the creamy sheep’s milk feta.  It’s one of my secret weapons in the kitchen.  I use a sheep’s milk feta to crumble on my pork tacos also and I swear by it.  I find regular feta a bit dry but when I discovered the sheep’s milk version, sold at Costco or Whole Foods or any gourmet grocery store, I was amazed at the difference.  And I like this simple presentation of a row of skewered meatballs, which is elegant and highlights the components of the dish.  Honestly though, for a big party or family gathering I would serve them in a nice roasting dish, straight from the oven, and just drizzle the remaining sauce and garnishes right on top.  Stand back….and watch these disappear.
Bourbon Glaze

  1. Heat a small heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat and add in the honey, brown sugar, adobo sauce, bourbon, Worchester, and tomato paste.  Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, whisking as it cooks and thickens slightly.  After about 5 minutes remove from the heat and then whisk in the butter. 
  2. Separate the sauce into two equal portions. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Meatballs

  1. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl gently combine the ground beef, veal or pork, garlic powder, granulated onion, parsley, egg, fresh breadcrumbs, milk, and romano cheese.  Season generously with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  Mix gently with your fingers. Do not over mix or meatballs will be tough.
  3. Shape into medium meatballs (think two bites) and place on the lined baking sheets.  Using a basting brush glaze the meatballs generously from one of the two separated sauces dishes. Bake for about 17 minutes and remove from the oven.  As they cool there will be some fat around the edges of the meatballs.  Use a paper towel to blot the meatballs and remove any excess fat.
  4. Meatballs can be refrigerated overnight if not serving right away. 
  5. When ready to serve take about half of the remaining bourbon sauce and place in a separate container and brush the meatballs again with the sauce.  Place on a baking sheet under a broiler for 2 minutes to just set the glaze. 

Assembly

1.      Line a serving platter with the warmed, glazed meatballs.  Drizzle with remaining uncontaminated bourbon glaze, crumbled sheeps milk Feta cheese, and fresh chopped parsley.

Bourbon Glaze

1/3 cup honey

2 Tablespoons dark Brown sugar

2 teaspoons adobo sauce

1/3 cup bourbon

2 teaspoons Worchester sauce

2 teaspoons tomato paste

Salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef

12 oz ground veal or plain ground pork (not seasoned)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons granulated onion

2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish

1 large egg

1 ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs (approx 3 slices of bread, crusts removed, pulsed)

½ cup whole milk

½ cup grated pecorino Romano or parmesan

½ cup sheeps milk feta cheese for garnish, crumbled

Yields approximately 30-35 medium meatballs


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