I love a good appetizer. They set the mood for your tastebuds and get you excited for the meal to come. Prosciutto Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze serving on wooden platter is a good choice for any afternoon to make and enjoy.
And if they’re wrapped in prosciutto, well… that’s just icing on the cake! Or ham on the meatball. Either way.
These meatballs were crafted with Thanksgiving in mind. I stuffed some of those familiar flavors from the big meal into one hearty bite!
I say hearty because this is one of those appetizers that straddles the line between being a respectable two-biter or a mildly ridiculous one-biter. I say go for it, all in one bite. It’s Thanksgiving! Your family doesn’t mind.
These meatballs have some serious layers. The first, and most Thanksgiving-y, is a cranberry glaze. I love using cranberries in savory dishes, and there is no time more appropriate than now to do so! The glaze is tangy, sweet and sure to wake up your tastebuds right off the bat.
Next you get to the MVP of appetizers: prosciutto. Whether it’s simply wrapped around melon, layered on crostini or baked into a crispy cup that cradles further deliciousness, this stuff was made for pre-dinner noshing. It adds a salty kick and crunch factor to the meatballs that is irresistible.
Following the ham layer is the meatball itself. It’s a pretty standard pork meatball – ground meat, herbs, egg, milk – but did I mention they’re gluten free?! In place of the usual breadcrumbs or fresh bread I used cornmeal. It adds a great texture to the meatballs and is readily available, whereas gluten-free bread might not be in some places. Sage, parsley and thyme bring even more traditional flavors to the table in this layer.
Once the ground pork is mixed, you’d think it’s time for the meatball assembly line. But there is still one more layer to be discussed – apparently three didn’t cut it for me.
I stuffed them with CHEESE! Tiny little pearls of mozzarella create the core of these tiny delights and add an itty bitty creamy component.
So there you have it, all four layers: your tangy/sweet, your salty/crunchy, your meaty/herby, and your cheesy/creamy. I think we’re set!
1/2+ pound thinly sliced prosciutto di parma* ( or you can try pancetta if you dont have prosciutto)
For cranberry glaze: Combine all ingredients with a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the glaze has thickened, 10 minutes. Strain the glaze through a fine sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Scrape any glaze off the bottom of the sieve and discard solids. Set glaze aside to cool.
For meatballs: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each slice of prosciutto in half crosswise – you’ll need about 30 half slices. In a medium bowl, stir together cornmeal, milk, egg, herbs, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the pork and gently stir to combine.
For each meatball, grab roughly a tablespoon of the meat mixture, place a piece of mozzarella in the middle, form the meat around it and roll it into a smooth ball (should be about 1 1/4 inch meatball). Wrap each meatball in a slice of prosciutto and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, cheese and prosciutto. Bake for 12-13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until the prosciutto is crisp and meatballs feel firm. Transfer the meatballs to a large bowl and toss with as much of the glaze as is needed to cover.
*The weight you need depends on how thinly the prosciutto is sliced. The goal is to have 15 long slices that are cut in half for the 30 meatballs
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