Sweet and Sour Meatballs

From: Our Sweet Basil Kitchen

2 Lbs. ground beef (85/15 mix works best)

2/3 c. panko bread crumbs

2 Tbl. dry minced onion

1 large egg

1/4 c. coconut milk

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 Tbl. canola oil

1/3 c. chopped red bell pepper

1/3 c. chopped yellow bell pepper

1/3 c. chopped green bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced fine

1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 c. rice vinegar

1/2 c. ketchup

1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce

2 c. granulated sugar

1/8 tsp. sesame oil

1/2 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, smashed with their juices

2 - 3 Tbl. cornstarch

1/4 c. cold water

sesame seeds, for garnish

green onions, for garnish

rice, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Or, if using a slow cooker, lightly oil the cooking insert.  To a large bowl, add ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, coconut milk, ginger, salt and pepper.  Mix with your clean hands until just combined.  Rub a little oil on your hands and then roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls (or use a cookie scoop).  Place meatballs in prepared baking pan or slow cooker.

Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven OR set slow cooker to low and bake, covered with sauce, 3-4 hours.  

To make the sauce:  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, chopped peppers and garlic.  Sauté until tender, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the onion powder, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil.  Stir to combine and then add the oranges and juice.  Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch and water together and then whisk into the sauce.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve over meatballs with sesame seeds and green onions to garnish.  Makes around 35 meatballs.  Serves: 6