Sweet and Sour Veal Meatballs


The New Jewish Table

Published by St. Martins Press

This image courtesy of Renee Comet

TODD: Meatballs have enjoyed a renaissance lately, be it in white-tablecloth restaurants or fast food joints. We serve them at Equinox as a lunch special over polenta or noodles or as an hors d'oeuvre for catering events. This dish combines the Kassoff penchant for things sweet and sour (in the Chinese food tradition) with elements of my mother's Swedish meatball recipe from the '70s. The recipe calls for ground beef and veal, but feel free to use beef only, or ground turkey or chicken.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking MethodPan-frying



Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Family Get-together, Game Day

Recipe CourseAppetizer, Hors D'oeuvre, Main Course

Dietary ConsiderationKosher, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free

Five Ingredients or LessYes

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureMeaty, Sweet, Tart


  • 1/2 cup whole milk or soy milk (see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2/3 cup cubed white bread
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup finely minced yellow onion (1 small onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce


  1. Mix the meatballs. Combine the milk and wine in a medium bowl; stir in the bread and let it soak until soft, stirring once or twice--for a few minutes. Place the veal and beef in a large bowl. With your hands, transfer the bread to the bowl with the meat, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Add the egg, onions, garlic, thyme, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper to the meat. Thoroughly mix together with your hands.

  2. Cook the meatballs. Put the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Shape the meat mixture into small balls, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, and roll each in the crumbs. Pour 2 inches of oil into a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the pan and cook until golden brown on all sides and cooked through--about 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; keep warm. Taste a meatball and sprinkle more salt or pepper over the others if desired.

  3. Make the sauce. Stir together ketchup, honey, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is shiny and smooth--about 10 minutes. Season to taste with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. To serve, place the meatballs in a bowl, pour in the Sweet and Sour Sauce, and toss to mix. Serve immediately.


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