A lot of appetizers are served cold, but sometimes it’s nice to have warmer options, especially during winter holiday entertaining. These meatballs with a creamy wine sauce make a heartier offering, but still are bite-sized to keep them easy for your guests to eat. It’s also a simple recipe to prepare.
We are fortunate to have a number of local wineries here in Whatcom County. Some of them offer regular tastings, or you can visit my friends Rich Frye and Pat Hayes at the Artisan Wine Gallery on Lummi Island. They have tastings every Saturday from 2pm to 6pm. While their tasting wines are not always local, the hospitality and conviviality most definitely are. They can always help you choose a good local wine from their hand-picked selection available in their shop.
Visit the Gallery’s website to subscribe to their weekly email newsletter which offers information about the wines to be tasted the following weekend. Come spend a relaxing afternoon. You might even spot the elusive Whatcom Locavore.
- 1 pound lean ground beef (Hillcrest Farm, Lummi Island)
- 1 large egg (Nettles Farm, Lummi Island)
- ¼ cup chopped onion (Hopewell Farm, Everson)
- ⅓ cup dry bread crumbs (from homemade bread using Fairhaven Organic Flour Mills flour)
- ¼ cup milk (Twin Brooks Creamery, Lynden)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Dried habanero or minced jalapeno pepper or grated fresh horseradish root, to taste (I used dried habanero from a friend's garden, Lummi Island)
- 1 tablespoon butter (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- Wine Sauce:
- 1 cup water (or homemade beef stock)
- 1 cup red wine (I used 2006 "Red Intrigue" Merlot by Vartanyan Estate Winery, Bellingham)
- 1 cup double (heavy) cream (Twin Brooks Creamery, Lynden)
- Salt to taste
- Chives, finely chopped, to garnish (The Growing Garden, Bellingham)
- Make meatballs: In a bowl, mix together ground beef, egg, chopped onion, dry bread crumbs, milk, salt, and hot pepper (or horseradish) to taste. Shape the mixture into 1-1/2-inch balls. Heat butter in a large skillet and cook the meatballs over medium heat until brown, about 20 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Drain and set aside while making the sauce.
- Make wine sauce: Pour in wine and water or stock to meatball pan. Turn heat to high, and stir to loosen bits from cooking the meatballs. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, or until reduced to about ¾ cup of liquid. Reducing more will result in a thicker sauce. A little more water may be added if the sauce boils away.
- Just before serving, salt as needed, and stir in cream. When warmed, pour over meatballs. Use slotted spoon to remove meatballs and insert a toothpick into each one for serving.
See a list of other holiday appetizer recipes to choose some additional finger food to go with these meatballs.
Bellingham Farmers Market, Railroad and Chestnut, Bellingham
Community Food Co-op, 1220 N. Forest St. or 315 Westerly Road, Bellingham
Nettles Farm, Lummi Island
Terra Organica, 1530 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham