When I was a young bride, one of my favorite recipe sources was The New York Times International Cookbook. I loved trying the foods from faraway lands that I could only dream about visiting someday. Sweet and sour meatballs were a big favorite then, and I still make the recipe, though I have adapted it to the slow cooker and tweaked it by adding tomato sauce and raisins to the pot. Serves 6 to 8 •3 cups All-Purpose Tomato Sauce or other tomato sauce •1 cup water •¼ cup dark brown sugar •2 tablespoons golden raisins •3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice •1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made from French or Italian bread •2 pounds ground beef chuck •2 large eggs •1 medium onion, grated •1 large garlic clove, grated •2 teaspoons salt •Freshly ground pepper In a large slow cooker, stir together the tomato sauce, ½ cup of the water, the brown sugar, the raisins, and the lemon juice. Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl with the remaining ½ cup water. Let stand until the water is absorbed. Squeeze the bread and place it in a large bowl. Add the beef, eggs, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well. Moisten your hands in cold water and shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. Place the meatballs in the slow cooker, spooning some of the sauce over the top. It’s OK to make two layers. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or on high for 2½ hours, or until the meatballs are tender and cooked through. Serve hot.
The Mediterranean Slow Cooker
By Alan Richardson and Michele Scicolone