In my pre-dinner repertoire meatballs play a very small role. I often forget about their sweet, spicy, hearty existence in favor of some dip or salsa or hunk of delicious cheese. It’s strange that that they go forgotten, especially when I think about every Christmas party I attended as a child and remember the bubbling crockpot of meatballs at the center of the buffet table. They were the centerpiece and with good reason; in a sea of less filling options the meatballs were the main course, so to speak, at every cocktail party.
For our Friends Who Fete Holiday Party I made cocktail meatballs in the easiest way I knew how—without having to even make the meatballs in the first place. The idea for our party was to throw one that was absolutely doable, even at the last minute, therefore I went on the hunt for the BEST frozen meatballs I could find.
After dedicated research, my favorite meatballs were the Nature’s Ranch Angus Beef Meatballs from Whole Food’s. They had dense, meaty texture and rich flavor without too much overpowering seasoning, allowing me to slather them in any sauce I please.
These mango habanero cocktail meatballs are made with a very simple sauce that uses another one of my favorite store-bought products, Mrs. G’s Mango Ginger Habanero Jelly. This jelly, made and sourced in Southern California, has a telltale kick from the chiles but isn’t so overpowering that you can’t taste the mango or ginger, all ingredients come through clearly. In Southern California you can find this jelly in many grocery stores like Whole Food’s but you can also order it online. If you can’t find this particular habanero jelly, any brand of spicy jelly will do.
Mango Habanero Cocktail Meatballs
Mango Habanero Cocktail Meatballs make the easiest party appetizer, just spruce up store-bought meatballs with a sweet and spicy mango habanero sauce.
- 1 pound 6 ounces frozen mini meatballs
- 8 ounces habanero jelly
- 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons mango juice
- Bake meatballs according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss hot meatballs in sauce and serve.
Serve meatballs in a slow cooker to keep warm.
A big THANK YOU to This Mess Is Ours and Salt & Wind for all the photography!
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