Squash and Liver Meatballs with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

Meatballs are a pretty popular family friendly meal. Although it took a bit of experimenting over the years I finally found a food that everyone will eat. I’ve made golumpki, meatloaf and of course Swedish meatballs but most often I make them too spicy for Riley. His super senses never fail, if I put a speck too much pepper I never hear the end of it. These meatballs are not bland, and have no grains or flour. Much like potatoes are the secret to good Swedish meatballs, squash and liver pate are my new secrets. The soft texture of squash, the creaminess of hard cooked egg, the milde mapley taste of liver. These meatballs are cram packed with nutrients as well as flavors that are not overwhelming.

Liver is extremely flavorful as well as nutritious. It is nutrient dense and packed with folate as well as A and B vitamins. Vibrant squash and pumpkin are packed with carotene, potassium and even some fiber and magnesium. Cranberries are beautiful little jewels, just packed with antioxidants and as a sauce they really bring this dish together. A nice sour and sweet sauce for a nice hearty meatball is just comfort food with a twist.

Roasted Squash and Liver Meatballs

A dollop of pate goes a long way, my recipe is very basic and lean. You could simply chop up some poached liver and a hard cooked egg, or leave it out entirely. Add rice, cous cous or bread crumbs to bind them. They are easier to handle this way however I prefer no bread or binding.

  • 1 pound ground red meat or game (beef, venison, bison)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Easy Chicken Liver Pate 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper (to taste or about 1/2 teaspoon of each)
  • cayenne (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Line a sheet pan with a silicone mat, or grease the pan to prevent sticking.

Combine ingredients into a bowl. Mix completely. Form into balls about the size of golf balls. A cookie scoop helps to form even sized balls. Place in an even layer onto baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is a wonderful change of pace. I use homemade stock which is heavily seasoned, and condensed. It is essentially a meat jello per say. If you are Using store bought stock replace the water in the recipe with additional stock. To further sweeten add more sugar or honey to your own taste.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole cranberries (More to Garnish)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chicken or beef stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons sweetener of choice, to taste (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, fresh
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. To thicken quickly add a tablespoon of corn starch to your water or stock and whisk slowly into the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and raw cranberries. (Basil Might be quite nice as well) 

Note: Cranberries are particularly sour. Use honey, molasses, maple syrup, maple sugar, date sugar, raw sugar, coconut sugar, or absolutely whatever you prefer to sweeten it to your own taste.

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