For many years, a cocktail party wasn’t complete without a chafing dish filled with sweet and sour meatballs containing “exotic” ingredients like chili sauce, grape jelly, and pineapple. We became too sophisticated for those meatballs in recent years. But the little rounds, baked until golden, and served with a brown sugar and cider vinegar glaze, is a classy update of the retro favorite.
That kinder, gentler version of the dish comes from Steve LaCount, chef and owner of Chiara Bistro in Westwood. Often, what’s popular at restaurants — particularly the small plates and nibbles — are ideal hors d’oeuvres for the home cook. We gathered a handful of good ideas and great recipes from local chefs to update your party repertoire. And like the meatballs, they’re all a fresh look at some past favorites.