Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls
From “The Meatball Shop Cookbook,” by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow (Ballantine Books, 2011).
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup pepper sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot or Texas Pete
1 pound ground chicken, preferably thigh meat
1 large egg
1/2 celery stalk, minced (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup bread crumbs (see note)
Blue Cheese Dressing (see recipe)
PREHEAT the oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle the oil into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and use your hand (or a brush) to evenly coat the entire surface.
COMBINE the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking until the butter is melted and fully mixed. Remove from heat and 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. (If the mixture is too soft to roll, refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.)
ROLL the mixture into small, round balls, each about 1-inch in diameter, making sure to pack each one firmly. Place the balls in the baking dish, lining them up snugly so that each is touching.
ROAST 15 to 20 minutes or until firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted in the center should read 165 degrees. Cool 5 minutes before serving. (If you make them in advance and you want to heat them again before serving, place them under a broiler for a few minutes, just until starting to brown.)
NOTE: The book calls for dry bread crumbs but suggests avoiding panko, which are crunchier. We used panko in testing, however, and found it worked fine, especially if you chill the mixture for about 30 minutes.
Yield: 40 meatballs.
Blue Cheese Dressing
From “The Meatball Shop Cookbook.” You can use a prepared blue cheese dressing, but this version makes a tart, flavorful dip.
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
PLACE the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt and vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisk thoroughly until completely combined.
TASTE and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Yield: 2 cups.
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