I love to serve these little sausage meatballs with caramelised onions as an appetizer when I have friends over. I love meatballs, but I find them a bit time-consuming to make from scratch. Using sausages to make the meatballs means that you have balls bursting with flavour – thanks to the salt and fat. I’m particularly partial to pork and fennel sausage meatballs, but you can use any sausage you like (chorizo is also good). They can be prepared a day in advance and popped into the oven when your guests arrive.
The caramelised onions can also also be prepared in advance. In fact, I find a jar of caramelised onions a very handy thing to keep in the fridge. They can be used in so many different ways. They’re the perfect accompaniment for sausages and mashed potato. Try adding them to sharp cheddar cheese in a toasted sandwich, or as a topping on pizza with goat’s cheese or gorgonzola. I also like them in frittatas with spinach and leftover roasted pumpkin. You can also use them to make a quick onion soup.
The caramelised onions go well with herbs such as thyme, or even the roots and stems of coriander (which I always save after using the leaves for other recipes). While it seems like you’re using a lot of onions, don’t be tempted to leave any out. The mixture will reduce considerably when the onions caramelise into a beautiful, golden, sticky concoction. In fact, why not double the recipe?
The Origin of the Humble Sausage
I delved into the history of sausages. Did you know that they are believed to have originated in Mesopotamia over 5,000 years ago? An Akkadian cuneiform tablet from Sumeria, Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), records a dish of intestine casings filled with forcemeat – a ground mixture of meat combined with fat, seasoning, and other flavouring ingredients. The word ‘sausage‘ is derived from the Middle English ‘sausige’ from Norman French ‘sauseche’ or ‘saucis’, which was itself derived from the Late Latin ‘salsicia’ (from Latin salsus, ‘salted’).
Another Delicious Sauce for Sausage Meatballs
Are you inspired to make your own sausage meatballs? If so, you might like to try making this delicious Romesco Sauce to go with chorizo sausage meatballs. It makes an excellent sauce for roasted cauliflower, as well as a dip for sweet potato fries.
If you’ve tried these sausage meatballs with caramelised onions or any other recipe on At Amanda’s Table, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below. And if you’d like to read more, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter for stories, recipes and tips for simple, nutritious meals.
Sausage Meatballs with Caramelised Onions
- 6 pork and fennel sausages
- 3 red onions, peeled, halved and sliced (substitue with brown onions)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (substitute with malt, sherry, cider vinegar)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from their woody stems
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- For the meatballs, squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing and roll into bite-sized balls. Depending on the size of the sausage, you will get about 4 meatballs per sausage. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper.
- Cook the meatballs for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- Throw all the ingredients togther into a wide-based fry pan or saucepan and mix together.
- Cook over a medium heat so that the onions are bubbling in the liquid, stirring every few minutes so that the onions don't stick to the bottom of the pan. If they're sticking too much, add an extra 1 or 2 tbsp of water.
- Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the onions have a soft, jammy consistency.
- Allow to cool, then store in a sealed jar in the fridge. The onions will keep for a week.