Chicken ‘n Spinach Meatballs

“……any other ideas for spinach???”, my little sister asked.  Uh huh, you bet!

Spinach Rows growing in the hoop-house.

Spinach is one of those greens you can put in to so many places.  I can remember being a kid and having to force myself to eat it in the most disgusting way, steamed and cooked well until forming a slimy-looking dark green lump of mush on a plate.  Mmm? I don’t think so.  The idea of eating it raw or lightly steamed or chopped into a broth of chicken was not known in my household growing up, so it is so delightful for me now, to discover new and exciting ways to eat spinach.  So, little “Sis”, I found a new recipe which I know you will love.  It is easy and simple, and can be eaten on picks at a party, added to tomato sauce and spaghetti, or tossed into a stew full of fresh veggies, a bit of pasta and some broth.  It even makes great meatball sandwiches.  Any way to have it, this recipe for meatballs guarantees a healthy and tasty way to get your spinach into you.

Here is a note from the author this recipe was adapted from:  “You’ll need a food processor and a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid.  Well-seasoned cast iron would be okay, but do not try this with a stainless-surface pan or they will stick like hell.”

CHICKEN ‘N SPINACH MEATBALLS

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • good handful of spinach, chopped, baby or spear leaf
  • 1 onion chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 large egg

In a food processor, pulse to combine garlic, spinach, and onion.  Add chicken, cinnamon, salt and pepper and process until well mixed, but not mushy.  Put mixture in a large bowl with breadcrumbs.  Stir in vinegar, cheese, lemon zest and egg.  With your hands, form the meat mixture into two-inch balls, placing them in a single layer on a large plate. Cover meatballs with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a couple of hours, to make sure meatballs will stay in shape when cooked.  (At this point you could place meatballs in the freezer for another day.)

Pour  olive oil into a 12 inch skillet and heat over medium-high.  Add meatballs to the pan and cook until well browned on all sides, using tongs.  Place well cooked meatballs on paper towelling to drain off excess fat and set aside.  Continue to cook meat balls in batches.

At this point, the meatballs can be used for a variety of recipes as mentioned above.

The sweet and sour sauce below or any regular barbecue sauce would be a fine choice for a meatball recipe.  Just simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or on low in a slow cooker until ready.  Serve with rice or noodles.

SWEET ‘N SOUR SAUCE

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.  Add wine and cook until nearly completely reduced, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar, vinegar and broth and boil the sauce down until it has good consistency.  Add meatballs and bring to a simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, covered.

Give it a try “Little Sis” and anyone else who wants to know any other ideas for spinach???

Recipe adapted from The Hungry Monkey, A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater, Matthew Amster-Burton.

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