Sweet and savory, these cherry wine meatballs are the best of both worlds. Think-cocktail meatballs for dinner! They are seasoned perfectly and finished off in that cherry balsamic wine glaze that just goes perfectly with mashed potatoes on a cozy night in.
**Note: It is said (and often debated) that you shouldn't cook acidic foods like tomatoes or wine on cast iron, because it can cause a metallic taste. Some people will argue that while you shouldn't for long periods of time, that it's fine as long as you're not using a new pan, and you have a good seasoning built up. Click here for more information on cast iron cooking.
These meatballs are the best. If you're a fan of sweet and savory, and you like comfort food (who doesn't) then you've got to try these out for dinner.
I truly believe these are best served with mashed potatoes, but they also can be paired with rice.
Use canned cherries, as they're already pitted and it's not likely that you'll be finding fresh cherries all year round anyways. But, if you choose to use fresh-by all means, do. A quick note on the canned cherries- drain most of the juice.
These are the exact canned cherries I used (click here). They are SO good.
Make the meatballs
Combine the raw ground beef with the eggs, bread crumbs, seasonings and Parmesan. While you're forming the meatballs, preheat the oven.
I like to form the balls to be about 2 inches wide. They fit perfectly on a baking sheet, and they do shrink up a tad in the oven, and come out to be perfect.
Can you use something besides ground beef?
You can use ground chicken, pork, turkey or any combination of! The chicken or turkey meatballs tend to run a bit dryer, as there's less fat so don't over cook them.
Is the sauce thick?
This is not a thick sauce. It is somewhere between the consistency of a broth and a gravy. Like a thin gravy. A thavy. Or a groth.
Making the sauce
The sauce is by far, the best part about these meatballs. And it's so easy! You'll start the sauce while the meatballs are cooking in the oven. This way it can reduce down and become glaze-like. Then, the meatballs will do a little simmer in the sauce, just to finish them through.
On a heavy skillet sauté the garlic in a little oil until it starts to soften. From there, add the cherries (drained), wine, balsamic vinegar, and herbs.
Cook on a medium high simmer until the cherries begin to break down and liquid from the wine and cherry juice evaporates and looks more like a glaze.
Then, de-glaze that pan with the beef stock and a little corn starch. Whisk the corn starch into a bit of the stock first, so that it doesn't make lumps in the pan.
When the broth first hits the pan it will be very thin. Simmer it for another 10 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper and it will begin to thicken up just slightly.
Add the meatballs
Once the meatballs are done cooking in the oven, and the sauce has finished, add the meatballs directly to the skillet and the sauce. Toss them around a little bit to coat and let them sit there for a couple of minutes to finished cooking off.
The perfect temperature for a beef meatball is 165 degrees, internally.
Like I said, these are most delicious served with buttery mashed potatoes. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Cherry Wine Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded or grated
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp sage
- salt and pepper
Cherry Wine Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 15 oz canned dark sweet cherries drained
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp sage fresh or dried
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix meatball ingredients until combined, form 2 inch balls and bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet, saute garlic in olive oil until softened.
- Add drained cherries, wine, balsamic vinegar and sage. Simmer on medium high heat until cherries break down and liquid becomes reduced and thickened.
- Whisk corn starch into some beef broth to dissolve any lumps.
- Pour beef broth (and cornstarch) into skillet and simmer for 10-15 minutes on a high simmer, whisking.
- Salt and pepper sauce to taste.
- Add meatballs to skillet, reduce to low simmer and cook for up to 5 minutes, tossing to coat the meatballs.
- Serve with buttery mashed potatoes.