Chicken Balls Cooked in Fruit
Dried fruits are delicious. But many times we don't realize that it's not just dehydrated fruits that we are consuming, but rather it is a combination of sugars, corn syrup, sulfites or other preservatives. A naturally dried fruit is actually a concentrated way of getting lots of the good-for-you benefits (like antioxidants) of the fruit. But when you add all the sugar and preservatives you don't realize just how much of the other junk you are getting. It's always a good idea to pay attention to the ingredient labels when buying dried fruit.
The dried fruit that I stock in my pantry is bought from Fresh Direct product line called "Just". These products "Just" have ingredients you can pronounce with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The "Just" line provides great items to stock for those who like to keep things clean and simple.
I first tasted the combination of fruit and poultry together at the home of my sister-in-law. Although she is humble and says she doesn't know how to cook that well, I beg to differ. There is always such beautiful dishes that line her table. Her home is filled with middle eastern and Mexican influences which many times, shine through brightly in the food. This dish is no exception. I've adapted the recipe slightly but the inspiration was all her.
Chicken Balls Cooked in Fruit
Recipe originally posted on Fresh Direct
1 spanish onion, chopped small
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cups of water
Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tablespoons of juice)
2 pounds ground chicken or turkey (dark meat is preferred)
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon ground all spice
1 ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
½ cup of dried pitted prunes
½ cup of dried apricots
Take your onion, olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt and sauté in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes. Allow the onion to cool down completely.
In a large pot put your tomato paste, half of your sautéed onions, water, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and lemon juice. Start to bring the mixture up to a simmer under a low flame.
In a large mixing bowl, put your ground chicken, the remaining half of your sautéed onions, cilantro, all spice, ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Mix well and begin to form small meatballs. After you form all of the meatballs, place them into the pot of sauce. Sprinkle your prunes and apricots on top of the balls. Cover the pot until it begins to simmer. Open the lid a little to let some steam come out and continue to cook for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, gently mix everything in the pot. Do not mix the meatballs before it has simmered for 30 min.
This dish will last 1 week in the refrigerator
These keep really well in the freezer. Feel free to keep a batch for up to 6 weeks in an air tight container.
When you are ready to defrost, keep them in the fridge for 24 hours before you intend to eat them. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and reheat, covered at 275 degrees for 45 minutes.