Walking through the grocery store this week hoping to be inspired, I came across an item in the kosher section that I had never seen before, dark meat minced chicken. I use minced chicken all the time for stir fries or chicken burgers, but it is always the white meat variety, which is great, but has the potential to make food that is dried out. Using minced chicken that is dark meat, is a healthier option than beef, and an opportunity to make meals that are juicier and stay more moist than white meat, what a great find! As soon as I saw the chicken I knew exactly what I wanted to make–meatballs. Not just any meatballs, but an adaptation of my all-time favourite recipe for Sweet and Sour Meatballs from the old Spice and Spirit purple cookbook (such a classic). The original recipe tastes amazing but calls for tons of sugar, ketchup, and other processed items that I no longer cook with. Basing my recipe off of memory, and using honey and lemon juice for the sweet and sour, I also decided to add some vegetables to the sauce for extra nutrition and texture. The combination of the perfectly moist chicken balls, the hearty vegetables and the amazingly sweet sauce was so good, and I could not believe how quickly I was able to prepare my entire dinner. I am so glad I stocked up my freezer on the minced chicken because I know this recipe will become a staple on my dinner menu!
Saucy Chicken Meatballs
for the sauce:
2 tablespoons oil
2 celery stalks diced, leaves removed
1/2 small onion
2 large tomatoes
1 jar marinara sauce (16 oz)
1 cup water
4 tablespoons honey
for the chicken balls:
1.5 pounds minced chicken (dark meat preferable)
1/4 cup almond flour (or gluten free bread crumbs)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
on medium heat, saute onions, carrots and celery in oil for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes for another 5 minutes. Add sauce, water, honey and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
While sauce is cooking, mix all ingredients for chicken balls well. I formed mine about the size of 1 tablespoon rounded. Tip: the chicken is much easier to roll with wet hands, I had to wet mine a few times because the meat was very sticky…
Add “meatballs” to the boiling sauce. When all are in, reduce to simmer and cover for 45 minutes.
Yield: 22-24 meatballs