Summer season is in full swing, which means lots of outdoor or al fresco entertaining. My summer entertaining nearly rivals that of the holidays, but I absolutely love it. Finger foods and appetizers seem to be the trend this year, with more and more gatherings I attend and hosts offering delicious arrays of small plate items. Personally, I love this trend. I get to try more things at smaller portion sizes.
Occasionally, the gatherings are a grab bag of foods with no theme or cuisine in place. It’s a free for all! Occasionally there is some structure or theme for these parties. Sometimes it’s culturally specific dishes like Asian cuisine night, other times it is by food type like food on a stick.
Whether you’re hosting or attending, and it’s a themed or authentic potluck, you can’t go wrong with these cocktail meatballs. We’ve all had the mini meatballs drowned in bbq sauce or some sort of sweet and sticky Asian inspired sauce at countless parties. But, these will blow your guests away. There are layers of flavor in each meatball from the richly seasoned and spiced Cacique® Longaniza, ground beef, and the cilantro, coupled with the slightly spicy sauce with the ever so delicate hint of sweetness and covered in bold-tasting Cacique® Cotija cheese! Well friends, it will simply leave your palate mesmerized and begging for more.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- ½ cup panko
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1-10 oz. package Cacique® Longaniza, casings removed
- 2 med or 1 extra large egg
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ¼ tsp. ground coriander
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the Sauce:
- 1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2-tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1 chipotle chile, diced (from the adobo sauce)
- 1/3-cup beef broth
- ½ cup prepared barbecue sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup crumbled Cacique® Cotija cheese for garnish
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Add all the sauce ingredients to a slow cooker; mix well and cover. Turn it on to either high or low, based on desired cooking time. In a small bowl, add the panko and milk. Mix until the milk has been fully incorporated into the panko and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add all the meatball ingredients, including the panko and mix by hand until well combined. For tasting purposes, create a small meatball and flatten it. Place it in a small frying pan over high heat and cook on both sides. Once cooked through, taste for adequate seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Using a melon baller or two kitchen teaspoons, roll mixture into 24 meatballs. Place in the slow cooker. Gently stir the meatballs into the sauce until they are fully immersed into the sauce. Replace the lid on the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for two hours, or on low for four. When ready to serve, using a slotting spoon, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving dish. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs to keep them moist. Sprinkle the crumbled Cotija cheese and chopped cilantro over the entire serving dish. Place remaining cheese in a dish for the cheese lovers to add more to their personal servings.