In this post, we have the next installment of Kino Meals…
And this time, I’ve decided to feature one of the delicious recipes from Kino Chef: Chipotle Chicken Meatballs with Sweet Corn Polenta!
If you haven’t made this one yet, then I’d recommend stopping what you’re doing – no matter when you happen to be reading this – and make this meal immediately. Even if it’s midnight. Seriously, it’s that good.
On that note, I’ll let Emily take it away to tell you more about this recipe (since she created it, for the “Gourmet” section of Kino Chef):
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! It’s a staple in our household… We make a double batch almost every week, which is enough for dinner and a couple lunches afterwards.
I was inspired to make this recipe from a dish Rusty Moore contributed to Kino Chef (it was one of the meals in the “Rusty Moore’s Stovetop Recipes” bonus PDF that’s included when you buy the cookbook). He hooked me onto polenta, which I had never cooked with until I saw how he used it in that bonus.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – that this looks complicated…
But SURPRISE! It’s actually quite easy – maybe a little more involved than just a Tuesday night meal, but overall not too difficult.
These chipotle chicken meatballs are fresh and colorful, and full of complex flavors. Top them on the sweet corn polenta and you’ll even feel pretty darn fancy (and healthy at the same time).
Let’s get to it!
For the Meatballs:
- 1lb. extra lean ground chicken breast
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. macadamia nut oil (or coconut oil)
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp. light brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper (to taste)
For the Sauce:
- 1 jar of salsa (any kind you like)
- ½ can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
- 2 tsp. light brown sugar
For the polenta:
- 1 tube of pre-made polenta (available at most grocery stores)
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup canned sweet corn
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 stevia packet
Additional toppings: shredded cheese (I used shredded Mexican), fresh cilantro, light sour cream
For the Meatballs:
- In a large bowl combine chicken, 1 chipotle, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, 2 tsp. oil, panko, egg, 1 tsp. brown sugar, salt and pepper.
- Using your hands, incorporate everything together until it is all combined (try not to over mix though).
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Take the meat and roll into meatballs (I try to shoot for golf ball-size), and place evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Once you are all done you should have about 20 meatballs. Place in the fridge overnight – or at least one hour.
- After the meatballs have been refrigerated, heat 1 tsp. oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot (I usually test with a little splash of water; if it sizzles, it’s ready) use tongs to place about 4-8 meatballs in the hot skillet. Sear for about 1-2 minutes on each side (this will help lock in the moisture and prevent them from crumbling in the crock-pot).
- When all the meatballs are seared, spray the crockpot with cooking spray, add a little sauce (see recipe below) on the bottom, add meatballs, and pour remaining sauce over the top.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.
For the sauce:
- In a large bowl pour jar of salsa, add 2 chipotles (chopped), brown sugar, and Rotel diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.
For the polenta:
- Take the tube of polenta, cut into ½-inch rounds and place on a plate.
- Microwave in 1-minute increments (took a total of 5 minutes for me). You want the polenta to become soft.
- Place the polenta rounds in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until they’re mashed-potato consistency.
- Add melted butter, almond milk, honey and stevia and mix until all incorporated. Finally add your corn and stir in with a spoon. You can serve immediately or place in the fridge and heat up when ready to serve.
TIP #1: When ready to serve the dish, scoop out polenta onto a plate or bowl, top with meatballs and sauce, then sprinkle with Mexican cheese and fresh cilantro.
TIP #2: These meatballs are awesome reheated, and make a great lunch the next day if you want a fast leftover meal. I heat them up, cut them in quarters, sprinkle some cheese on them, then top with a mound of lettuce… It’s one of the most delicious (and super fast) taco “salads” you’ll ever have :)