Instead of a huge dinner, with one large hunk of meat at the center, I prefer to set out a selection of small dishes so my holiday guests can pick and choose and nibble their way through an evening. For New Year's Eve, the "spread" can be extra-elaborate: cheese, bread, pickled things, some slices of smoked fish (and if you're a pork eating person, you'll want some prosciutto or other ham), fruit, roasted peppers, small bowls of pasta, spiced nuts.
Any combination of dishes will work, but for me, regardless of whatever else is on the table, turkey meatballs are a must. These apple, Cheddar and cranberry turkey meatball appetizer bites bring together all of the traditional flavors of a New England apple pie, and a final dab of mango chutney gives them an irresistible, sweet glaze.
Apple, Cheddar and cranberry turkey meatball appetizer bites
From the pantry, you'll need: ground turkey, bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs), dried cranberries, egg, kosher salt, cinnamon, olive oil.
Makes 30 mini meatballs; serves 6-8. Can be multiplied; can also be made ahead and frozen.
1-1/3 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs (use gluten-free bread crumbs to make these gluten-free)
1/2 cup finely minced apple (with the skin is fine)
1/2 cup finely minced sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large egg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp olive oil
Mango chutney, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (silicone mat) or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the chutney. Use your fingertips to mix gently, making sure that all of the ingredients are incorporated.
With a spoon or small ice cream scoop with a release (called a disher), form the mixture into 30 small balls, and set them on the prepared baking sheet. They can be close together, but not touching.
Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes on a rack set in the upper third of the oven.
Use a pastry brush to paint each meatball with a bit of mango chutney before serving.
More turkey meatballs for holiday appetizers:
Greek red pepper and feta turkey meatballs, from The Perfect Pantry
Chipotle turkey meatballs, from The Perfect Pantry
Thai red curry turkey meatballs, from The Perfect Pantry
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