I love me some buffalo chicken. Actually, it’d be fairer to say I love anything smothered in buffalo sauce. Doesn’t have to be chicken. But it might as well be. ‘Cause I love me some buffalo sauce.

I don’t know when this started. Fairly recently, I’d wager, like winter of last year. I don’t even remember the first buffalo-flavored thing I had. Wings, probably, which is funny because I used to not eat chicken wings that often. Now, at times, I find myself craving them, especially when smothered with that buttery, spicy hot sauce.

I’ve been saving buffalo-related recipes left and right, so naturally, I joyfully took note of a buffalo chicken meatball recipe I found during my meatball research. Remember the meatball guys I mentioned in my initial meatball post? This recipe comes from that book. And this is how it turned out:

I admit, not what you would imagine a meatball to look like. They were more lumpish than ballish. I think Geordie had some doubts. But smothered with a (reduced-fat) bleu cheese sauce, these things were pretty awesome. I had to call upon all my will power to eat only the two of them. I could have easily forgone the rest of the meal and just munched on the meatballs. Even Geordie was won over by their delicious-ness. Not only would I make them again, I’ll probably try to find a way to have them once a month. I could easily see this becoming one of my favorite meals.

And for once, I’m going to include a recipe. I usually don’t do this because I like to link back to the original recipe and give proper kudos (and web traffic) to the person who came up with it. I’m a follower of recipes, not a generator. I do real well at following directions and using them to put things together. I need guidelines and an organized approach. I’m definitely not one of those people who just marches into the kitchen, throws things in a bowl, and comes up with something edible. I just can’t do it.

But this time, I tweaked the recipe a bit – not a lot. Just enough that it would fit my own tastes. Also, the recipe is in a book, so I can only link to that and not the recipe itself. So, this will have to do. The book recipe suggests serving these as appetizers, which I suppose you could do too. They worked great as a part of the meal, though.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook

½ cup Frank’s Buffalo sauce (or something similar, whatever you prefer)
1 lb ground chicken
1 large egg
1 carrot, minced
¾ cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 450º F and grease a glass baking dish of appropriate size in your preferred method (I Pammed mine).  Throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until it all holds together. Form into balls – or meat lumps, if necessary. Place into the baking dish. It’s quite alright if you have to cram them in so that they have very little personal space. Meatballs are a friendly bunch and don’t mind a bit of crowding. Bake until done. Mine took about 25 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and let the meatballs rest about 5 minutes before serving. Tent with foil if you like. Then, serve ’em up and douse ’em with a bleu cheese dressing/sauce.

The yield here really depends on how big you make them. The original recipe says it will make about 40 ¾” meatballs. I got 10 out of it because I made them much bigger. I did this because I used pre-cut matchstick carrots instead of minced and they just wouldn’t conform to tiny balls. Besides, Geordie likes his meatballs big and hearty, so there. If you do make smaller balls, adjust your cooking time. 15-20 minutes is what the recipe recommends for the smaller balls.

Other changes I made that you might not want to make: celery was the original vegetable, but I hate celery, so I used carrots instead. Onions might also have been included, but onions are not allowed in this house, so I don’t even register that in ingredient lists. Just skip right over it. The original recipe calls for whisking together 1/3 cup of sauce and 4 tbsp butter in saucepan. I did this, with half the butter. Obviously, it’s good, but I don’t think it’s necessary, especially if you’re watching what you eat. I won’t bother to do it next time. I used ground chicken breast because that’s what the grocery store had, but chicken thigh would taste better I bet. And, finally, I used homemade bread crumbs because that’s what I have. Store-bought is fine, but use the plain kind and season your own way. And don’t use panko. That’s more for breading than texturizing meatballs. Panko has lots of wonderful uses, but not in meatballs.

And that’s it. I’m really digging this whole “meatballs-once-a-week” thing. They’re easy to make, don’t require any babysitting, and are fairly quick. And I hear they freeze real well if you want to make them ahead of time, but I like dinner-time cooking, so that’s not something I’ve ever done.

Next week, I’ll be doing something with ground turkey. And chipotles and honey. Probably.

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