My Grandma made this sweet and savoury chicken meatballs recipe for our party a few weeks back, and as soon as I had it, I knew I needed to make it myself. I stayed true to the sauce part of the recipe but decided to change up the meat portion of the dish.
First, I chose to work with extra lean ground chicken to load up on protein while saving on fat. Next, my sauce of crushed tomatoes and cranberry jelly automatically made me think of Thanksgiving, so I used parsley and sage (the same seasonings for stuffing) to season my meatballs. And because this was a weekday meal, I ditched the traditional Italian pan-frying method and baked my meatballs for quick and easy preparation.
My husband and I enjoyed these sweet and savoury chicken meatballs for dinner, but this recipe works just as well (perhaps even better) as an appetizer. My meatballs were soft, tender, and flavorful, and they complimented my cranberry sauce beautifully. My ingredients hit all the right sweet and savoury notes without overpowering, and the protein/carbs ratio made this dish filling but not heavy.
Far from super-sized, these sweet and savoury chicken meatballs are a healthy choice you’re free to make as often as you’d like – how American is that?
- 1 pound ground chicken (minced chicken) - extra lean
- ½ cup bread crumbs - Italian-style
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
- 1¼ cup tomato - crushed
- 1 can cranberry sauce - jellied
- 2 teaspoons olive oil - extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 34 sprays cooking oil
- In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, sage, garlic, and several twists of salt & pepper. With damp hands, mash together ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Next, roll the meat into golf-size balls and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes until golden and crispy, turning mid-way for even cooking.
- While meatballs bake, in a food processor or blender, puree crushed tomatoes until smooth. Transfer pureed tomatoes into a large pot, seasoning with balsamic vinegar, basil, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Turn flame to low and allow to simmer.
- As tomatoes heat, remove jellied cranberry from the can and slice it into chunks. Adjust flame to medium, then gradually add cranberry into the pot, a few handfuls at a time. Stir constantly until liquified.
- Once all cranberry has been combined, add cooked meatballs to the sauce. Cover and allow ingredients to blend for 10 to 15 minutes, then immediately plate and serve, pairing with toothpicks and extra sauce on the side.