This is about meatballs, but it’s not really about meatballs. It’s about friends and family and communities and about the times that remind you how much you love all of the above. Those times are called parties.
I’m on spring break, which is why we’ve sort of lost touch (It’s not you, it’s me.) The anchor of the trip was the party (see happy purple people above) to honor my awesome mama. The whole process of throwing a party in your hometown—especially when you have no definitive vision or time or really any business thinking you can pull it off—is confirmation that Dorothy and her sparkly red shoes really had it right. There’s no place like home.
Friends appeared at just the right time to help me shop, delivered fondue pots, brought drinks and favorite dishes, ship-shaped the house, helped prep, cook, clean and tend each other throughout, took pictures and showed up with their rally caps on. They asked “how can I help?” and when I hesitated they just jumped in and did. The timeliness of the help was downright freaky, as when I was lamenting that I’d failed to order a cake and the phone rang: “Could I prepare a signature dessert to honor your mom?” I’m talking crazy good.
Like I said, this isn’t much about meatballs. BUT for this occasion I needed something easy I could make ahead and then pop in the oven, something that would not require any utensil beyond a toothpick, and something that was worthy of the best friends and family a girl could ever have. These mighty meatballs (poached from Epicurious) delivered in all areas. As a bonus, the leftovers were good the next day, cold and reheated.
Make these and have a party to remind yourself of all the good stuff and good people in your life.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or any other favorite hot sauce
- 1 pound ground chicken, preferably thigh meat (turkey works too)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 celery stalk, minced
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Some kind of Blue cheese dip or dressing
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, bread crumbs, and salt 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.
Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.
Serve with blue cheese dip for the real buffalo experience