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Rec: Cumin-Scented Chicken Balls in Tomato-Basil Sauce

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Joined: Dec 11, 2005


Posted to Thread #421 at 5:43 pm on Jan 13, 2006

My notes:

I made this last night and it was delicious. I used close to 2-1/2 lbs. of plum tomatoes for the sauce, fresh basil, and chose the low-calorie variation. I omitted the tomato paste and sugar.

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These eastern Mediterranean chicken “meatballs” can be sautéed first, in the traditional way, or can be simply poached in the sauce, for a low-calorie version. Serve them with rice or noodles and, if you like, with spicy Jalapeño-Garlic Chutney (page 366) on the side.

2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¾ teaspoon salt

1-1/4 pounds ground chicken
Quick Tomato-Basil Sauce (page 371) made with dried basil
4 tablespoons olive oil, for sautéing
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley

For meatballs, mix bread crumbs with garlic, spices, and salt. Add to meat and mix well. Make walnut-size balls using 1 tablespoon mixture for each. Transfer to a plate. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Heat sauce.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs in 2 batches and brown them on all sides, taking about 5 minutes; stand back to avoid splatters. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Add to tomato sauce. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Just before serving, add chopped fresh basil or parsley. Serve hot with rice or pasta.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Omit oil; skip step of frying. Simmer meatballs in 2 batches in tomato sauce, each for 20 minutes.

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This version of Mediterranean tomato sauce is faster to prepare than most because there is no need to chop or sauté any onions. Use it for cooking chicken balls (as on page 252), mix it with chicken strips and your favorite pasta shapes, or serve it with grilled or sautéed chicken or turkey breasts.

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped; or 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, halved, drained well, and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
2 teapoons tomato paste (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 2 to 3 teaspoons dried
¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

In a large saucepan combine tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, and tomato paste. Bring to boil. Add salt and pepper (and dried basil, if using). Cook uncovered over low heat about 15 minutes or until softened. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add sugar if needed. Sauce can be kept, covered, 3 days in refrigerator. Reheat sauce over low heat. Add fresh basil just before serving.

Makes about 1-1/4 cups; 4 to 6 servings

Faye Levy’s International Chicken Cookbook
Warner Books

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