Meatballs in Cranberry Sauce

Cooking time
Serves2-4 people
Meatballs in Cranberry Sauce

Inspired by the traditional Swedish combination of meatballs and jammy lingonberry sauce, this dish turns winter wonder berry cranberries into a tangy sweet and sour sauce for savoury roast meatballs.


  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 12 beef meatballs (see our tip)
  • 200g cranberries
  • 100-150ml cold water
  • 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • A few shakes of hot pepper sauce
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A handful of curly parsley, leaves only
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1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Tip the fennel seeds into a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. No pestle and mortar? Use a small bowl and the bottom of a jam jar or the end of a rolling pin to crush the seeds as finely as possible.
2. Line a baking tray or roasting tin with baking paper and tumble the meatballs onto the paper. Slide into the oven and roast for 25 mins, turning halfway through, till browned and cooked through.
3. While the meatballs cook, rinse the cranberries then tip them into a deep frying pan or shallow casserole dish. Pour in 100ml water, then finely grate in the zest from the orange and squeeze in the juice.
4. Add the crushed fennel seeds, Demerara sugar, mustard, Worcester sauce, red wine vinegar and a couple of shakes of hot pepper sauce (use a little to start with, then add more later to get it to the right level of heat for you). Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pop a lid on the pan, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 mins till the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened up a little. If the sauce seems too dry, add a splash more water.
5. Taste the cranberry sauce and add a pinch of salt and pepper, a shake of hot pepper sauce or more sugar if you think it needs it. Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn them to coat them in the sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve with mashed potatoes, tagliatelle or rice and buttered greens.
6. Tip: This recipe makes enough for 2-4 people, depending on how hungry you are and how many sides you serve, but if you want a bigger family dish then roast 18-24 meatballs and coat them in the sauce before serving with veg and rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.
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