Sweet-and-Sour Potted Meatballs

Sweet-and-Sour Potted Meatballs

The following recipe is from the March 19 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!

If you're not lucky enough to have grown up with a bubbe fussing over you and cooking you some of the most amazing comfort food ever, then Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Schwartz can help you approximate the experience yourself. Here's an adaptation of Schwartz's potted sweet-and-sour meatballs, which can be used in stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, sweet-and-sour cabbage borscht, and more.


  • For the sweet-and-sour sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely minced
    • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon sour salt, or the juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
    • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the meatballs:
    • 2 pounds ground chuck or a combination of ground neck and tenderloin
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1/3 cup long-grain rice, parboiled for 3 minutes
    • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs from challah or good-quality supermarket white bread (with crusts)
    • 1 medium onion, grated on the coarse side of a box grater
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1.

  2. Prepare the sauce: In a 5-quart stovetop casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil to medium; sauté the minced onion until tender and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the canned tomato sauce to season the meatballs, then add the remaining sauce to the onions. Rinse out both cans with the same 1/2 cup water to loosen any sauce that remains; add that liquid to the pan. Stir in the sour salt (or lemon juice) and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium heat. Remove from the heat; set aside.
  • 2.

  • Make the meatballs: Put the ground meat in a large bowl; push it to one side. Put the eggs, rice, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, and pepper on the other side; combine with a large fork. Incorporate meat into the breadcrumb mixture a little at a time, eventually mixing everything together.