Is shrimp cocktail a mainstay of your holiday party table? And are you a little bored with the same old dish?
This year, try something different. We start with the same easy, pre-cooked shrimp, but this time they get tossed with a zesty Jamaican-style seasoning blend and skewered with cubes of tangy mango and cool, crunchy cucumber. Add a touch of zippy pepper and nobody will suffer from yet-another-shrimp-cocktail syndrome.
Also, meatballs are a great holiday entertaining food. They are homey, well-loved and easy to do ahead of time.
AP Photo - - Meatballs are a great food for holiday entertaining. They are homey, well-loved and easy to do ahead of time. These cranberry chipotle meatballs add a zesty holiday flair.
But let's face it, they've been done. They've been done with grape jelly and ketchup. They've been done with beer and barbecue sauce. And they've been done with creamy gravies.
So how about something a little different? Something that adds some zing to the appetizer offerings. This recipe has all that, plus a do-ahead sensibility.
We've given directions for making the meatballs on the stove, but if you prefer you can transfer them to a slow cooker to keep them warm for your party. You also can keep them warm in a Dutch oven over a stovetop burner set on low.
Caribbean Shrimp Skewers
Start to finish: 30 minutes. Makes 24 skewers.
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces peeled and deveined cooked medium shrimp
6 Peppadew peppers, quartered
2 mangoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 English cucumber, cut in 1/2 moon slices
In a medium bowl, stir together the garlic powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, thyme, cayenne, black pepper and salt. Pat dry the shrimp (this will help the spices stick), then toss in the spice mixture.
On 4-inch skewers or picks, place a piece of pepper, then a piece of mango, a piece of cucumber and finally 3 spiced shrimp.
Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs
Start to finish: 30 minutes. Makes 50 meatballs
For the meatballs:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce), minced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
16-ounce can cranberry sauce
12-ounce jar chili sauce
3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
Heat the oven to 425 F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked onion mixture, beef, pork, salt, black pepper, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, vinegar, eggs and breadcrumbs. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberry sauce, chili sauce and adobo sauce. Bring to a simmer.
When the meatballs are done, transfer them to a shallow bowl or rimmed platter. Pour the sauce over the meatballs.