Meatballs in Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Last Sunday some friends had us over for dinner. Deb brought out this huge platter of elk meatballs and placed it conveniently in front of me. "Did I have to pass them around, I wondered secretly?" I could have devoured every last one! Well, after my raving about them she kindly gave me the recipe. The next day I went to work modifying. Her recipe called for catsup. I thought I'd try to cut back on the sugar, by making a catsup-like sauce using sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of honey. Here is what I came up with.

THE SAUCE

Combine and soak to soften:

1/3 cup SUN DRIED TOMATOES (dry, not soaked in oil)
1-1/2 cups boiling WATER

In blender, puree:

Sun-dried tomatoes and soaking water
1/3 cup Bragg’s APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
2 tablespoons HONEY
1 teaspoon SEA SALT
1 small ONION

THE MEATBALLS

In a large bowl combine:

2 pounds ground BISON, BEEF or ELK
1/2 cup RICE CRACKER CRUMBS (easily made in a blender or food processor)
1 cup jarred mild SALSA (I used Pace Picante)
1 teaspoon SEA SALT
1 teaspoon ONION POWDER

Shape meat mixture into 2-4” balls using cookie dough scoop. Place in baking dish and cover with the tomato mixture. Bake 350˚F for 1 hour (or until cooked through). For crispy-top meatballs switch from bake to broil for last five minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 3-5 minutes.

NOTES: The meatballs are mighty good even without the sauce.