Meatballs in Amaretto BBQ Sauce: A Tribute to Daniel

     Last week a sad event occurred in the food blogging community.  One of our friends, Daniel Saraga, passed away suddenly at the age of 37.  Daniel and his wife Meredith write the wonderful food blog the Haggis and the Herring.   Not only was Daniel a member of the blogging community, he was also a part of the Secret Recipe Club and through that I got to know him and enjoyed reading his blog posts.  Please visit the beautiful tribute written by his wife.

     As part of the Secret Recipe Club we felt that there is no better way to pay tribute to the passing of our fellow food blogger then to make some of his recipes and share them with our readers.  The recipe I chose was a very easy decision.  I’ve been in the mood for meatballs and I just used half a bottle of Amaretto in a canning recipe and was wondering what I could do with the rest of the bottle.  These delicious meatballs were just what I was looking for.

      I began by cooking the sauce and wasn’t thrilled with the smell of it when it began cooking.  I had a taste after 15 minutes of cooking and started getting worried.  It tasted strongly of vinegar and sugar but I kept on cooking it.  Meanwhile I started on the homemade meatballs.  In his post Daniel said that he wished he had had time to make his own meatballs so I decided to do this tribute right and make my own meatballs to go with this sauce.

     After 45 minutes of cooking the sauce it had reduced by about a third and was thick.  The color has also deepened and I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting flavor.  It was sweet, tasted slightly of almonds, and had a rich tomato flavor.  I poured it over top of the meatballs and continued cooking for 10 minutes.  We then poured the meatballs over top of rice which worked perfectly with these meatballs.

Meatballs in Amaretto Barbecue Sauce (slightly adapted from the Haggis and the Herring, the meatball recipe is my own)
For the Amaretto Barbecue Sauce:
3 T. butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. ketchup
6 oz. can of tomato paste
12 oz. Dr. Pepper
1 oz. Amaretto liqueur
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. black pepper
2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. salt

For the meatballs:
1 lb. lean (93/7) ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 t. black pepper
1 t. salt

1.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Saute the onions and garlic for 10 minutes in the butter.

2.  Add in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.

3.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

4.  While the sauce is simmering make the meatballs.  Combine the ground beef, garlic cloves, and onion in a large bowl.  Add in the egg and mix well.  Stir in the breadcrumbs, pepper, and salt.

5.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

6.  Form the meatball mixture into 1 inch meatballs and place them in the skillet.  Cook for 10 minutes, browning on all sides.

7.  When the sauce has thickened pour it over top of the meatballs and allow them to simmer for 10 minutes.

8.  Serve over top of rice or mashed potatoes.


This post linked to: 
Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty TuesdayTotally Tasty Tuesday,




  1. says

    It is sad to read all these posts and know that Daniel is not here to share with us anymore. I am positive that this tribute would be approved of by him and he would be happy to know just how much we all cared for our fellow foodie.

  2. says

    I’m sorry to hear about Daniel’s passing. I’ve never come across his blog before so I’ll have to check it out, but it’s always a tragedy when somebody dies so young – and I think that this is a lovely way to honour him. The recipe sounds wonderful, and it combines three of my favourite things – Amaretto (my all-time favourite liqueur), BBQ, and meatballs. Thanks for sharing :)

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