Chicken Meatballs with All the Greens

IMG_20190626_194153751 (3)Though I won’t, I could easily turn this blog into one only about greens. It’s the category of vegetable I most crave when I want something healthy, and they can improve just about anything. I also happen to love stretching out meals that normally rely entirely on meat with a strategically added vegetable, and these meatballs can handle a surprising amount of greens. They are easy, flavorful, and adaptable, which are the three attributes most important to me in a recipe.  There are a lot of greens packed into these meatballs, which does make them more delicate, but since they are small and cooked quickly under the broiler you really don’t need to handle them much.

My share this week included lots of lettuce, perpetual spinach, yokatta na, Red Russian kale, French radishes, Hakurei turnips, pea greens, dill, parsley. I used some lettuce, and pickled radishes and turnips to go into tofu banh mi. Though beets aren’t around yet, this kale salad would be great with sliced turnips and/or radishes, and this kale salad is always a good idea (turnips/radishes could also be substituted for the broccoli stem). If the meat in this recipe turns you off, I’ve made and loved these Green Falafel Bowls.

Chicken Meatballs with All the Greens

28 meatballs, or 6-8 servings

Adapted from Molly Yeh

This recipe can go a lot of different directions. I changed up the spices to my liking, as can you, and see the inspiration recipe linked above for another take. These could also be made into burgers and grilled. Turkey, pork, or beef could all be substituted for chicken. I served them with the tahini sauce in the original recipe (which I didn’t love) and a salad alongside with lettuce, radishes, salad turnips, and parsley. These would go great with tzatziki or a similar yogurt sauce.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheets
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups/8 ounces)
  • 10 ounces of finely chopped greens (I used a mix of perpetual spinach, yokatta na, and turnip greens)
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped (½ cup)
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ lbs ground chicken (preferably ground thigh meat if you can get/make it)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat (it needs to be large enough to fit all the greens). Once hot add in the oil, then the onion. Saute for 5-10 minutes, until translucent and beginning to brown at the edges. Add in the greens, in a couple batches if necessary, and stir. Cook for 5 minutes, until the greens have wilted, and let them cool slightly.

Put all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then add in the cooled onions and greens. Mix until just combined (use a light touch, otherwise you will have tough balls).

Coat 2 baking sheets with olive oil, then form the meat mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs (you should have about 28). Space them evenly on the baking sheets, then broil each sheet for 5-7 minutes, until they are nicely browned. Break one apart to check doneness, and pop them back in the oven if the meat in the middle isn’t opaque.

 

 

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Last Week I Cooked….

Last Week I Cooked.... - Vegetal MattersButternut squash curry. This is essentially my favorite butternut squash soup, in curry form. I put in the whole can of coconut milk instead of just a cup. In a shockingly short amount of time you have a rich, fragrant, creamy curry with spice to your liking. Chickpeas would not be unwelcome here. I also made cauliflower that I roasted at 425F for about 20 minutes with a healthy dusting of cumin and cayenne. This is also a vegan meal which is fully satisfying and company worthy.

Marcella’s broccoli and potato soup. Mondays are when all the errands happen after work. Pick up produce at Potter Hill, go to the library. It also happened to be the night I didn’t plan a meal for. So I weighed options…there was broccoli I just picked up, potatoes I had. Salad was too cold a dinner for the blustery day, something on toast not enough of a meal. So I landed on this quick soup. The broccoli does get soft, but that didn’t bother me. As usual with soup the night of the flavors hadn’t really developed so a lot of parm was used, but the leftovers were great alone. To fill this out a bit more next time I would add some white beans.

Last Week I Cooked.... - Vegetal MattersCabbage and white bean soup. This was the first making of this soup, but I can promise there will be more. This is a hard soup for me not to love as it is entirely comprised of my favorite soup components: rich tomato broth, cabbage (and lots of other vegetables), and white beans. Again, better the next day.

Last Week I Cooked.... - Vegetal MattersPepperoni meatball spaghetti. This is not your grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs are huge and full of rich meats and spices. The sauce is intensely flavored, and the one spot I would pull back a bit. A full tablespoon of red pepper flakes is aggressive and they totally dominate the sauce. My date was a fan of this, but I would probably dial it down to a teaspoon and a half next time. This was a great dish to let bubble over a Friday night in, with a sumptuous finale.

Ruth Reichl’s spicy Tuscan kale. This might be taboo to Lady and Pups, but I felt the urge to serve an aggressively healthy vegetable along with giant meatballs and pasta. I halved the amount of kale and just used one anchovy, as I had a single one in the fridge and didn’t want to open another can, but also…the last time I cooked with anchovies I added one too many and they totally overpowered the dish, so I’m treading lightly. I also used regular curly kale and it worked just fine. The kale still retained it’s fresh green color, with a linger saltiness from the anchovy and the sweetness from onion and garlic. I left out the bread crumbs, but would add them next time if I wasn’t so focused on spaghetti and meatballs (and there will be many more next times with this dish).

Breakfasts this week included scrambled eggs with kale on toast with whipped feta (yes again, it’s SO good), a big omelette with kale, caramelized onions, brie, and ham (pictured at top), toast with jam, and whole wheat yogurt pancakes, with the raspberries replaced with one small apple, grated.