SLOW-COOKED CHICKEN MEATBALLS

A little note added after publication: today is the first Monday of the month, so let me tell you which was my favorite post of January: Happy New Year in My Kitchen!  If you’ve missed it, here is the link.  But come right back, ok?  To see what many of my virtual friends pick as their best post, visit Sid’s blog.

Sometimes a dinner makes me so happy I cannot stop smiling. This was one.  Not only because it was delicious, but because I made it all in advance and we arrived home to a dinner ready and waiting, without that “crock pot taste” that so often is present when recipes take the “dump it and forget it” approach. Basically, not every type of meat shines during long cooking. These meatballs do. And they even hide a little surprise inside…

SLOW-COOKED CHICKEN MEATBALLS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from many sources)

1 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage (casings removed)
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 bunch kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 cup almond meal
salt and pepper to taste
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup water (or chicken broth)
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
small mozzarella balls, one per meatball

Start by sauteing shallots in coconut oil in a large skillet until translucent and fragrant. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then add the kale. Cook until wilted, transfer to a bowl and allow it to completely cool. If you like to cool it faster, add it to a baking sheet on a single layer.

In a large bowl, add the two types of meat, the sautéed kale, egg and egg yolk. Season with a little salt (the sausage is already seasoned), then add the almond flour.  Mix gently and form into large balls, incorporating a small mozzarella ball in the center. You should have enough for 8 to 9 chicken meatballs. Refrigerate them for one hour or more to firm them up. You can make this the day before.

Pour the crushed tomatoes in the bowl of a crock pot, add the water (or stock) and the butter cut into large pieces. Season with some salt and pepper, add the Herbes the Provence. Place the meatballs gently inside. Cook on low for 5 hours. If you have a chance, flip the meatballs after a couple of hours.

Serve right away or save in the fridge for next day, when flavors will be even better.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I prepared the chicken meatballs on Sunday, stored them in the fridge, started them cooking next day during our lunch break. My slow-cooker keeps the food warm for a couple of hours, so we don’t have to worry about rushing home in that type of situation. Mondays are usually tough. You’d think that we would be all relaxed after the weekend, but truth is there is so much to do around the house that by the time Monday comes we are seriously hoping it would be Friday instead… For that reason I try to plan a very easy dinner for the first evening of a working week.

Now, of course, not everyone is as spoiled as we are, having the chance to go home for lunch. Keep in mind you can always do the slow-cooking part in the evening, then enjoy them for dinner the day after, they only get tastier. I was thrilled that Phil decided to stick with his smoothie and cereal bar for lunch later that week. I did not have to share the leftovers…  Yes, he is a keeper. But I suppose I’ve mentioned that a few times.

ONE YEAR AGO: Zesty Flourless Chocolate Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Maple Pumpkin Pecan Snacking Cake

THREE YEARS AGOSilky Gingered Zucchini Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sweet Fifteen!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flaxseed Sourdough

SIX YEARS AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

EIGHT YEARS AGO: White Bread

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23 thoughts on “SLOW-COOKED CHICKEN MEATBALLS

  1. Sally, I am not trying to be ‘nice’ to you . . . but this must be the most exciting chicken meatball recipe I have ever read in my life! And I have read and made a few 🙂 !! Have to get the sausage and the almond meal and I am off !!! Am a stovetop or oven gal – know how to cook low and slow like that . . . how long would you say on the stovetop tending the pot carefully . . . ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because these are large (you need them to be large to hide the surprise) – I’d say at least 30 minutes of gentle cooking – you can always slice one open and take a peek…

      glad you enjoyed the “idea” of the recipe (cannot say you enjoyed IT yet, as you have not made it.. but I know you will)

      😉

      Like

    • I like to use almond meal to save some carbs – I find that the traditional approach of bread crumbs or bread soaked in milk makes them super heavy, harder to digest (for me)

      Like

    • thank you! I actually use the crockpot quite often, but not all recipes pass my test of being really really good. If they don’t I just don’t blog about them. Often they are recipes that call for extended periods of cooking and involve chicken. I sometimes still try them thinking that the particular sauce will make a miracle, but.. I always detect the off putting texture… In this recipe the sausage helps give enough fat to the ground chicken, and also gives a nice extra seasoning, so it all works beautifully

      Like

  2. Stuffed with mozzarella balls! Brilliant! That small touch of adding some almond flour instead of wheat was genius too – where did you get that idea from? If I could afford almond flour, I’d try it!

    I know a lot of people grouse about their ground chicken concoctions being dry and tough, but…they’re idiots, of course. Smarties like you (and ME ME ME obviously) know to just add back in some fat, or other moisture. Jacques Pepin advised slipping a small ice cube/chip into the middle of chicken burgers, which would gradually melt and keep things basting from within. I tried that, but didn’t like it because of the dilution of flavors. So I tried frozen stock to compensate. Too much trouble, frankly. So now I do what you do: just add some damn moisture to the mix, like you do with the fat from the sausage and egg yolk. I sometimes use a panade, but often I just dump in flavored liquids like soy sauce (umami!), flavored oils, etc. I’m lazy that way. But yeah – I like your balls, lady 😉

    But….KALE!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooo!

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • you can use spinach… 😉 You know, I must make the green brains happy too!

      I’ve used the ice cube trick and like you, did not care for it – I sometimes use shredded zucchini, just a tad – and that works super well, you cannot tell there is a veggie in the mix, and it gives excellent moisture. BUT, nothing beats a bit of sausage, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Green brains”! Bwahaha! Love it 🙂

        Er…the only thing I’ve been able to think to say after reading the rest of it is….”If I had a nickle for every time my wife said that….”

        But you obviously knew that. How dare you lead me on like that!

        🙂

        Like

    • where did I get the idea for almond meal? from my super brilliant mind… ok, maybe I had inspiration from all those low-carb, keto sites I visit… But I rather have you fall for my brilliant mind… if you don’t mind (like the play with words?)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These look so very tasty! I’m with you on kale in the mixture, though I’m not a big fan of kale on its own, but I find it keeps it’s shape better than spinach and I usually add it to my fried chicken patties. Love the idea of using almond meal in the mixture. Will keep it in mind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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