May 20, 2010

Sweet Chicken Meatballs

Chicken meatballs are simply the best. They are part of the ultimate comfort food dish of pasta and meatballs, yet have none of the heavy or greasy feeling of beef meatballs. These only leave you with happy thoughts and an empty plate for seconds. 

My recipe yields a texturally light, juicy meatball with addicting undertones of fragrant spices, such as cinnamon and clove, that you would not find in a traditional beef meatball. I use these unexpected spices because they compliment the lighter flavor inherent in ground chicken, while introducing a sweet, deeply flavored quality to every bite. Pile these meatballs on top of savory tomato sauce, generous heaps of al dente pasta, and enjoy with a good glass of red wine. Yes, life is good.

Sweet Chicken Meatballs
1.5 lbs ground chicken meat (preferably fresh from the butcher)
1 large white or Spanish onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3/4 cup fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 t cream or milk
1 T dried Italian seasoning
1 T cinnamon
1 T pumpkin pie spice
2 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T ketchup

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients using your hands or by folding together with a spatula. Do not over-work the ingredients, as your meatballs will become dense and tough the more they are mixed. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large, shallow baking pan (I use our turkey roasting pan from Thanksgiving). Using your hands, scoop out enough meat to form somewhat medium-large sized meatballs of approx. 1.5 inch diameter. Shape them into a ball by lightly rolling between the palms of your two hands. Place each meatball down in the baking pan.

Bake approximately 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve, or allow to cool before storing or freezing.

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