Emily’s (or Marissa’s) Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

This is recipe that is hotly contested amongst my group of friends.  Originally, my friend Marissa made this recipe at a party she threw a few years ago. We all loved it, not just because it was so tasty, but also because Marissa’s idea of a party is to have 3x more booze than food. So when she does bring out a few small bites, we all attack like starving wolves and inhale whatever she serves.

After that party, my other friend, Emily, asked Marissa for the recipe for these little wonders.  Since then, Emily has served them at all of her parties and people have since forgotten that they originally came from Marissa (btw, I don’t think anyone has truly forgotten that Marissa originally made them – I just think that Emily actually makes them better than Marissa did. The meatballs come out lighter, not as dry, and just the right amount of kick).  I, in turn, have passed this recipe along to my family and they all refer to it as “Emily’s Buffalo Chicken Meatballs,” when in reality, it’s actually Marissa’s.  Confusing, I know.  Just don’t mention this to Marissa.

The point is that this is one very tasty recipe and you don’t need to be on a CKD diet to appreciate it.  In addition to serving it at parties as an appetizer, I also make it for dinner (and serve it over rice) and you can freeze it. If you like buffalo sauce at all, you will love this.

 

Image result for buffalo chicken meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce (Note: traditionally, hot sauce has a lot of salt. While Frank’s [the original, not the buffalo, which has less salt] will forever be my favorite, you can also make your own. I’ll post the recipe below for reference.)
  • 1 pound ground chicken, preferably thigh meat
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 celery stalk, minced
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (Note: please see my tips for low-sodium bread crumbs in the Green Bean Casserole Recipe)

Preparation

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, and bread crumbs 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.

If serving at a party, keep warm in a slow cooker.


DIY Low-Sodium Wing Sauce

2-4 tablespoons Tabasco (to taste)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and whisk in tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar and lemon juice.

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