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Venison Meatballs in Dried Cherry Sauce

Yield about 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground venison
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 (3-ounce) packages dried cherries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup Merlot
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans beef broth

How to Make It

  1. Crumble ground venison and ground beef into bowl of a heavy-duty mixer; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and allspice. Add 1/4 cup onion and next 5 ingredients; mix thoroughly at low speed. Shape mixture into 1" meatballs.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add meatballs in batches, and cook until browned, turning often. Remove meatballs from skillet with a slotted spoon; set aside and keep warm.

  3. Cook chopped onion and celery in pan drippings until golden. Add chopped garlic; cook 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium; stir in tomato paste. Cook until paste begins to brown. Stir in cherries and next 6 ingredients; cook over medium-high heat, scraping bits that cling to bottom of skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, and cook until liquid is reduced by about half. Add broth; return to a boil and cook 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Remove from heat; cool slightly, and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

  4. Pour sauce into container of an electric blender; cover and process until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Pour mixture back into skillet through a wire-meshstrainer. Add meatballs to cherry sauce. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are thoroughly heated. Transfer meatballs and sauce to a chafing dish. Serve warm with wooden picks.

Christmas with Southern Living 2000