I love trying out new recipes on my book club…my friends are always extremely receptive…unlike my family, they will try anything. We read and discussed a marvelous book about the assassination of President Garfield…and when researching him, I found that his favorite dish was squirrel. I had plenty of offers to drop off some road kill so I could make my “squirrel meatballs.” Only one skeptical friend thought I actually used squirrel in these meatballs…nope, ground chicken is more my style!
These mini meatballs are flavored with hot sauce and a generous amount of butter, but they are baked not fried…if that makes you feel any better. They are served with a lovely blue cheese dressing…and everyone wanted this recipe. Perfect for football gatherings or any cocktail party, these have a lovely kick but not overly spicy. And the blue cheese is the perfect complement. If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party, give these a try!
- Adapted from Epicurious and The Meatball Shop Cookbook
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce or any other favorite hot sauce
- 1 pound ground chicken, preferably thigh meat
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 celery stalk, minced
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Blue Cheese Sauce:
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup crumbled Blue Cheese
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- To make the meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the vegetable oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat, whisking until the butter is melted and fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
- Combine the hot sauce mixture, ground chicken, egg, celery, bread crumbs, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
- Roll the mixture into round, 3/4 -inch balls, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.
- Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving. Serve with blue cheese sauce.
- To make the blue cheese sauce:
- Place the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt, and vinegar in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired.