Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sweet n Spicy Baked Chicken Meatballs

It's almost Superbowl time, so why not talk about the meatballs I made for a Superbowl party last year? They are a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy (or a lot if you add lots of chipotle peppers.)

Mrblocko wanted them more spicy than sweet, so this time I added 2 T of the adobo sauce to the meatball mix, and 3 large chipotles to the sauce. He probably would have liked it hotter, but I wanted to eat them too. Silly me and my wimpy taste buds.

My blender was dirty when I was made this recipe. I was lazy and didn't feel like washing the blender by hand, or waiting for the dishwasher, so I just chopped up the chipotles as fine as I could and mixed everything up with a spoon. As a result, my sauce was lighter in color and occasionally you got a meatball with a extra bit of chipotle.Mrblocko was in charge of watching these in the oven. I forgot to tell him that I wanted the sauce to caramelize a bit while they cooked. As a result, he took them out a little earlier than I would have liked. That was my fault because he was, gasp, following the recipe, and not reading my mind. Tisk tisk.

I got more meatballs than the recipe suggested because I used my small scooper to portion out the meatballs. With the small scooper, the meatballs were the perfect bite size. To me, if something is bite size, you should be able to pop the whole thing in your mouth with out completely stuffing your mouth.

The recipe calls for ground chicken, but sometimes I have a hard time finding this at the store, and don't feel like grinding my own chicken. In the past I have made this dish with all chicken, all turkey and a combination of both. They all taste equally delicious.

If I'm bringing this to a party, once the meatballs have been completely cooked, I will toss them in a crockpot and let them hang out on warm or low all night. Just remember to peek in on them every once and a while to give them a stir. This is more for your sanity later. If you don't give the meatballs a stir, the sauce will get all crusty and make clean up not so much fun.
Should you find that you have leftovers, these meatballs taste great in a sandwich. You can either eat the meatballs cold, or heat them up. I've mentioned how much of a microwave fanatic I am, but this is one exception to that rule. I prefer the leftovers warmed up in a skillet on the stove. The sauce will get caramelized and make the outside of the meatballs slightly crispy. Just make sure to turn the meatballs frequently if you are reheating them in this fashion. If you don't, they'll wind up cold on one side and charred on the other.

Here's the link to the recipe I found on Noble pig: chicken meatballs with chipotle honey sauce
2 pounds ground chicken
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T adobo sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Chipotle-Honey Sauce
3/4 cup honey
2 to 3 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine ground chicken, eggs, bread crumbs, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, adobo sauce and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and form chicken mixture into 48 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour.

While the meatballs are chilling, make the sauce. In a food processor or blender combine honey, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chicken broth, tomato paste, lime juice, Dijon mustard and salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Remove meatballs from the refrigerator and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Bake both trays in a 400 oven for 12 min. Remove the trays from the oven and place meatballs in a baking dish. Add Chipotle-Honey Sauce and brush the meatballs until they are coated. Bake another 12-15 min until meatballs are heated through and glazed with sauce.

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