Cranberry Italian Sausage Meatballs with Spicy Cranberry Dipping Sauce

I am not a huge fan of canned cranberry sauce but I always seem to have a can in my pantry during the holidays. Maybe I unconsciously pick it up in memory of my mother, she loved the stuff and it was always served at holiday meals in my house growing up. So, 
sometime in December I am always staring that can down and trying to decide what to do with it!

On the other hand, I love the meatball appetizers which always seem to be on every holiday buffet and potluck table, usually smothered in some ketchup-y sauce and served in a crock pot. Those are fine until they've been sitting around for hours and the sauce has reduced to concrete and the balls are dry as cardboard. That's why I prefer to serve mine as dippers, warmed up just before serving and replenished fresh as they disappear! 

I've added a little holiday to these with some dried cranberries, that ubiquitous can of jellied cranberry sauce and a better way to serve up:


1 Pound Sweet Italian Sausage
1 Package of Pork Stuffing Mix
1/3 C. Dried Cranberries
1 C. Water
1 Small Onion, Diced
1 Stalk Celery, Diced
1 Tsp. Fennel Spice Mix
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Egg
1 Tsp. Salt

Pour the dry stuffing mix and seasonings into a large mixing bowl.
Cook the sausage until nicely browned. Remove sausage and set aside.
Sweat the onions and celery in the sausage fat until translucent. Remove and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with the water, getting all the nice brown bits (the fond) into the liquid. Pour this liquid into the stuffing and bread crumb mixture.
Add the sausage, onions, celery and the egg into the stuffing mixture and mix well, then form into 1" diameter balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. 
Bake at 350F for 20 - 25 minutes.
Plate up warm on a nice holiday dish with some toothpicks and serve with the sauce below. 

Sweet & Spicy Cranberry Dipping Sauce

1 Can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
3/4 C. Heinz Chili Sauce
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
Juice of 1 Orange
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp. Garlic Salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and warm on medium until the cranberry sauce is completely dissolved. Serve warm in a ramekin next to your Cranberry Sausage Meatballs.

This is great served up with one of my Cranberry Cocktails!

TIP: The leftover meatballs make a fantastic meatball sandwich the next day and the leftover cranberry sauce is a great glaze for a pork roast!

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