We received some fresh sage in our CSA box last week and since I think sage tastes the best when it is fresh, I wanted to use it rather than freeze/dry it. So I put the kids in front of the television for an episode of Dinosaur Train and set out to make two dinners in one go. I added the sage to some ciabatta stuffing for a couple of chickens (more in a later post) and used some to make these meatballs.
My kids love chicken. I think most kids do. So chicken meatballs smothered in some kind of sauce are always a winner at our house. Our butcher has both ground white chicken meat and ground dark chicken meat. I always buy the dark meat because it's less expensive and tastier. Also I find that ground white chicken meat seems a little pointless. If I wanted a white meat meatball or patty, wouldn't I just chop up the breast into nuggets or something similar? My personal opinion...
Here's some ground chicken and chopped sage.
Added an egg, some panko, salt and pepper. A pretty basic meatball - made special with fresh herbs and gravy.
Heated some olive and safflower oil up in a heavy saucepan/dutch oven and formed the meatballs.
Tossed the meatballs in and fried them until they had a bit of colour on the outsides and began to firm up and keep their shape.
Realised at this point that I had completely forgotten to prep the mushrooms for the gravy. Was thankful to see that the mushrooms were pretty dirt-free and large-sized, so they were easy to clean and slice. Some speed-slicing and the mushrooms were ready to go in with the browned meatballs.
Cooked the whole mess until the mushrooms were soft. Added some beef broth to deglaze the pot and form the gravy. (You could definitely use chicken stock or water here too, you just won't get the nice brown-coloured gravy. If you decide to use water, remember to taste and re-season as necessary).
I like a dash of worcestershire sauce in my mushroom gravy, so...
Brought it to a low boil, then covered and simmered for about 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Made a little bit of roux to thicken the gravy.
You could use cornstarch to thicken the gravy as well, but I find the texture of the resulting gravy isn't as creamy or thick. Added the roux bit by bit, mixing between additions, until my meatballs and gravy looked like this:
The kids ate this straight from the pot. We ate it with some rice. It would be sooo good with some mashed potatoes (but organic potatoes are crazy expensive right now) and buttered marble rye.
Chicken and Sage Meatballs in Beef Mushroom Gravy
1 lb ground chicken (dark meat is my preferred)
3 sprigs sage, chopped
1 cup panko (or other quality breadcrumbs)
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
300ml beef stock, or enough to cover meatballs
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
salt and pepper, to taste
- Mix together ground chicken, sage, panko, egg, and salt and pepper. Form into tablespoon-sized meatballs.
- Heat your preferred cooking oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Brown meatballs, rolling them around to cook all sides, until the meatballs begin to firm up.
- Add mushrooms to the pot and cook until mushrooms are softened.
- Add in stock/liquid and deglaze/scrap up any brown bits if necessary. Add worcestershire sauce.
- Bring gravy up to a low boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Mix together butter and flour using a fork or your fingers until a smooth paste (roux) is formed.
- Push the meatballs to the sides of the pot, clearing a small area in the centre in which to thicken to gravy. Add roux to the simmering sauce about a 1/2 teaspoonful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Continue adding roux until the sauce is at your desired thickness. (I used up all my roux, but it really depends on how much liquid you added and how much liquid was present from the meatballs and mushrooms).
- Give everything one final stir to even out the consistency of the gravy and give it one final tasting.
- Serve with carbs or as is. They're really reminiscent of swedish meatballs so I think they would also be great with some lingonberry or other slightly sour jams/chutneys.