I love meatballs. There is just something about the ground meat, the seasonings and the sauce that come together into one tiny perfect package of deliciousness. One of my favorite cookbooks is The Meatball Shop Cookbook by Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow. The cookbook outlines the authors' story, philosophy and recipes that came to be their fabulous restaurant in New York City. Yep, a restaurant all about meatballs. And it is quite a success.
This recipe is not one from their book, but I do follow their cooking process when making meatballs. Their recommendation is to oven roast the meatballs as pictured below.
Roasting the meatballs provides even cooking and helps to keep their shape. Once cooked, I then remove them from the pan and add the sauce of choice. Certainly, you could braise or fry meatballs, depending on the recipe. I use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to portion out the meatballs. This keeps the meatballs uniform in size and aids in even cooking.
The BBQ sauce I use for this recipe is one I make. A store-bought one could be used, jazzing it up with cider and mustard to make it special. The grated apples in the meatballs lend just a hint of sweetness and keeps them moist. A blend of ground beef and pork, in place of the chicken, would also complement the apples and mustard used in this recipe.
Chicken Apple Meatballs with Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated apples, skin on
2 tablespoons grated onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon wholegrain Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons oil for coating the roasting pan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of oil into a 9x13-inch roasting pan; spread to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Portion out the mix to form meatballs roughly 2-inches in size. Place the meatballs into the prepared roasting pan, lined up to fit closely together. Roast for 25 minutes until the meatballs are firm and cooked through, 165 degrees when tested in the center of a meatball with a meat thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the meatballs to rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a large bowl. Add the sauce to the meatballs, gently toss to lightly cover. Serve extra sauce on the side as desired.
Cider Mustard BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite recipe. Store extra sauce in an air-tight container in refrigerator.
If using store-bought BBQ sauce: Measure out 1 cup of sauce. Add 1/4 cup cider and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Stir to combine.