Spicy meatballs braised with beer and onions

January 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Spicy meatballs braised with bear and onions. Chef Bruce Aidells shares a recipe for an impressive appetizer for any party.

Spicy meatballs braised with beer and onions
Makes 40-60 meatballs


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons Coleman's mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dry sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups finely chopped onions
  • 2 bottles (12 ounces) dark lager or dark ale
  • 2 cups chicken or beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or molasses (optional)

To make the meatballs, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onions until very soft, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, to the bowl and squeeze and knead the mixture until well blended. Shape into meatballs using about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture for appetizer sized meatballs about 1-inch in diameter.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet and lightly brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onions to the same pan and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes until lightly colored. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook until the sauce just begins to thicken, about 30-40 minutes. If the sauce is not thick enough, continue to cook until ready.