Slow Cooker Pork Meatballs with Orange Sauce…tender, juicy meatballs, packed with vegetables, covered with an orange glaze that everyone goes crazy for! Great as a party appetizer, or delicious easy meal with rice!
Pork Meatballs with Orange Sauce
Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul. ~Dorothy Day
That’s kind of how I feel about meatballs. Big, small, stuffed, covered in sauce…they’re the perfect comfort food…food to feed the soul, if you will.
My husband makes giant ones covered in marinara for our ski weekends. I love making the little ones for soup, big stuffed meatballs, and of course the saucy and glazed ones. Together my husband and I make a good pair in the kitchen. He’s a very good cook, but he tends toward the simple and classic. I have richer tastes.
Not too long ago I shared some saucy Sweet Sriracha Meatballs from our Freaky Friday blog swap. My late father-in-law’s beloved Sausage Balls are also on blog. The pork meatballs I’m sharing with you today though have a glaze-like sauce, and not only make a great appetizer, but are equally good served with rice for an easy dinner.
You might remember this sauce from my glazed ham. I loved that sauce so much, I started experimenting with other recipes to use it in. Let me tell you, it tastes great on these pork meatballs. I’ll let you in on a secret too…my pork meatballs are packed full of vegetables, specifically carrots and zucchini.
My kids have always been good vegetable eaters, so I never had to try to hide vegetables in food. But I often make two vegetables for dinner, or add a veggie into the main dish. It’s become a habit to add an extra serving of vegetables into our meals. For those of you who have picky kids, this might be a good way to get that serving of vegetables in them.
Let’s get started making our meatballs!
Preheat your oven and line your baking tray with parchment paper or tin foil. Normally I like to use parchment paper, but I have a bad habit of not checking my supplies before I get started, so tin foil it was. They stick a little more to the tin foil, but they taste the same.
First you’re going to chop your carrots, zucchini, and onions. I let my zucchini drain on paper towels to get the extra moisture out while I was getting the rest of the ingredients ready. Beat your eggs, and then mix together your meat, eggs, vegetables and onions, breadcrumbs, and some salt and pepper. Mix the meatballs with your hands…you don’t want to overmix it.
Then you’re going to start rolling. Lightly oil your hands to keep the meat from sticking to your hands while you’re rolling…it makes it infinitely easier to get a nice round meatball. As you can see from my picture below, I found this great tip after taking my pictures for this recipe. You can bet I’ll be using it next time around…it really works quite nicely. That same article has some other wonderful advice on making meatballs…it is definitely worth a read.
You’re going to cook your meatballs in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they’ve browned.
While your meatballs are cooking, combine your orange marmalade, orange juice, grated ginger root, and Dijon mustard to make your Orange Sauce.
Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or rub a thin layer of olive oil along the bottom and sides. I tend to do the latter, as I don’t usually have cooking spray. Then add the pork meatballs to slow cooker and turn it on low. Pour your orange sauce over the top. Heat for 2-3 hours, stirring once or twice.
You can serve the meatballs as an appetizer or over rice for an easy main dish.
Normally, for an appetizer, one serving would equal two meatballs, so following this guideline, you could technically feed 42 people. However, you know your crowd, so plan accordingly. A lot of time it depends on how many other appetizers are going to be served. For dinner, you can probably feed 8 people with this recipe. At this point, with my oldest being away at college, we’re only 4 for dinner these days. But we love leftovers, and you can freeze your extra too!
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 2 cups mixed vegetables, chopped finely in a food processor (I used carrots and zucchini)
- 2 onions, chopped finely
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons of salt (1 teaspoon per lb of meat)
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Chop vegetables and onion.
- Beat eggs.
- Mix together meat, vegetables, onion, bread crumbs, egg, and salt and pepper.
- Form into 3/4" or 1" round meatballs. It should make approximately 7 dozen meatballs, give or take a few.
- Add to baking tray. I usually line mine with parchment paper or tin foil to make clean up easier.
- Cook for about 20 minutes or until browned.
- While your meatballs are cooking, combine your orange marmalade, orange juice, grated ginger root, and Dijon mustard to make your Orange Sauce.
- Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or rub a thin layer of olive oil along the bottom and sides.
- Add the meatballs to your slow cooker and turn on low.
- Pour orange sauce over the top.
- Heat for 2-3 hours, stirring once or twice.
- Serve as an appetizer or over rice for an easy main dish.
Appetizer: 1 serving = 2 meatballs. Following these guidelines, this recipe would serve 42. However, you know your crowd best, and you'll want to take into account how many other appetizers will be served as well.
Dinner: approximately 8 servings.