Monday, September 23, 2013

Baked Mexican Chicken Meatballs





You can serve these over rice as a main course, or with toothpicks as a festive finger food.

Makes 4 – 6 servings

Ingredients
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken thigh meat
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
3/4 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
For the sauce:
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, divided
1 cup shredded jack or mild cheddar cheese


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Form into small 1 1/2 inch balls (you should get 20 or so), and arrange them about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake in the oven until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Set aside.

In the meantime, make the sauce. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-low flame. Saute the onions, garlic, and jalapenos, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and chili powder. Stir to combine, and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the sauce has thickened, and the flavors have come together, about 10 minutes.

Roughly chop half of the cilantro. Gently add the meatballs and the cilantro to the pot and fold into the sauce. Transfer the meatballs to a casserole dish (or bake directly in the Dutch oven/pot you were using). Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the oven for 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and serve immediately.

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