I love cooking for my friends, I love entertaining. I feel like there is nothing more satisfying then placing steaming bowls of nourishing food in front of those I love and then comes the joy of them enjoying my food. This Saturday I went to my friends Lu and Andy and I cooked for them. Seeing as it was cold and dreary (the joys of living in Blighty) I wanted to make a really comforting dish that warmed our souls and meatballs sprang to mind. Now, I usually go down the Italian route with my meatballs; pork and beef mince or sausage meatballs with a rich tomato sauce. More recently I've opted for my lighter Moroccan version with Turkey meatballs and a vegetable sauce. Neither was quite what I wanted on this occasion and then I remembered a recipe I seen by Tom Kerridge whereby he made pork meatballs and served them with a brown ale gravy. Again this wasn't quite my cup of tea but it was along the right track. So my dear readers I present to you my chicken meatballs with a chicken gravy. They are much lighter than your average meatball and are packed full of flavour, served on mashed potato with a rich gravy they really are something special. As I have mentioned before I have a crazy love for mashed potatoes which my diet pretty much omits these days so it was lovely to have them as a treat. If I were having these in the week I would make the meatballs and serve them with a tomato sauce and courgette spaghetti which would be just as tasty and much healthier.
Chicken Meatballs with Chicken Gravy
For the meatballs:
460g chicken thigh meat (skinless)
200g chicken breast meat
1 onion, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
200g panko breadcrumbs
pinch of dried red chillies
2 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP dried sage
2 TBSP fresh sage, finely chopped
1 TBSP fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
For the gravy:
500ml fresh chicken stock
250ml white wine
2 shallots, roughly chopped with skins still on
2 cloves garlic, cut in half with skins on
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
mashed potato - I make mine with butter and milk with lots of black pepper
leeks - I used two, sliced and cooked in butter and a splash of wine
in a bit of oil cook the onions until soft and let cool. blend the raw chicken meat in a food processor until smooth and then place in a bowl. add in the cooled onions and all of the other meatball ingredients then get your hands dirty and combine all the ingredients. bring together in a large ball and then cover the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least 2 and up to 24 hours. once you have chilled the mixture then roll them on to smallish balls about the sized of ping pong ball this recipe should make about 24. then place on a tray, cover with clingfilm and then place back in to the fridge for another hour or so. heat some oil in a frying pan and then cook of the meatballs in batches don't be afraid to get them nicely browned - they taste best this way. Once you have cooked them put them in an oven proof dish and but them in the oven on a lowish heat for 20-30 minutes just so they cook the whole way through and stay warm whilst you make the gravy.
to make the gravy put the wine, shallots, garlic and rosemary in a pan and then reduce down until it is more like a glaze - this takes approx. 10 minutes. add in the stock and then let simmer until you have a nice rich gravy. strain.
to serve add a spoonful of mash potato, top with a spoonful of leeks and 3-4 meatballs. spoon over some gravy to finish.
Linking up with Vicky at Honest Mum