Chicken Kofta Meatballs + Yogurt Feta Sauce

In an effort to stay good on my resolution to make this place a better resource and more practical for you all I am hoping to include more every night dinner options. There will still be cakes – last week alone I made two plus a couple of cream pies. Let’s call it therapeutic baking. But the simple food, the sort we eat on a regular basis, doesn’t always make it to these pages. Let’s change that. I know for myself I am most often flipping through cookbooks and visiting blogs for inspiration for the quick, healthful, and comforting food that can easily make it to our dinner table and possibly with minimal grumbling from the little ones.

Totally unrelated to this particular recipe I’m about to share but I thought of it as I mentioned quick dinners – do you all have an Instant Pot? I think I’m perhaps one of the last to jump on this bandwagon but I have fallen hard for this device and this is coming from someone who generally hates devices. Get me a sharp knife and a cutting board and I’m set. Slow cooker? What’s the point I say. Rice cooker? I’ve got a pot and a lid for that. Yesterday I made the best chicken broth of my cooking career in thirty minutes. Side note to my side note: I took that chicken broth and made this recipe for chicken and dumplings for my sick family (sadly the smell of the broth made one sick child feel sicker, mom fail).  I used leftovers from a roasted chicken made the night before and added one cup of grated Comté cheese to the biscuits.

Okay focus, Ashley. So regular dinners. That’s what I have here in the form of a very simple meatball. I mentioned these last week as they accompanied our Cauliflower Tabouli. The kids loved these simply spiced meatballs as did the group of friends I made them for recently. In fact I promised I would get this post up today so they could have the recipe. Not the kids, the friends, although this recipe is easy enough for the boys to throw together.

Kofta is a type of meatball that is found in Middle Eastern, South and Central Asian recipes. At its simplest it is ground meat mixed with spices. Other recipes include mixing the meat with grains and vegetables. Here ground chicken is seasoned with garlic, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander bound with a bit of yogurt and laced with a flurry of fresh herbs.

A couple of things to note: Perhaps consider doubling the recipe. They make great leftovers for lunches or future dinners (they freeze well too). Also, think leftover meatball sandwich – a slather of the creamy yogurt feta sauce and some crisp greens and thinly shaved cucumber. Yes. Make more than you need.

I used ground dark meat here and I think the moisture is needed. If you can’t find any add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to add just a bit of fat to the meat. For the herbs, use any variety of the soft leafy sort that you might have on hand – dill, cilantro, mint and parsley all do nicely.

More weekday dinner ideas to come. And cake. Always cake.

Chicken Kofta Meatballs + Yogurt Feta Sauce

Ingredients

Chicken Kofta Meatballs

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/4 pound ground dark meat chicken

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1/2 cup minced fresh herbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Yogurt Feta Sauce

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup crumbled feta

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill

Pinch salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine the chicken, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, salt, lemon zest, and yogurt. Mix well to combine. If you're okay with this I'd suggest using your hands.

Heat a cast iron (or other oven safe skillet) over medium high heat. Cook a teaspoon size patty to test for seasoning. Add more salt if needed.

Add the oil to the pan. Use a cookie scoop or a spoon to shape the meatballs into roughly two tablespoon-sized balls. They may loose their shape a bit as there are no eggs or bread crumbs but just add them gently to the pan then sear on all sides, turning them carefully with tongs.

Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven after all the meatballs have seared and roast for 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

In a small bowl combine the yogurt, feta, dill, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Taste and add more salt as needed.

Notes

Serve with the Yogurt Feta Sauce (recipe below). This also goes beautifully with the Cauliflower Tabouli.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Candied Bacon and Cranberries

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Candied Bacon

Life, right? I had the best intentions of sharing this recipe with you all before the holidays and then whoooooosh there they went. But there is no reason why Brussels sprouts and candied bacon can’t happen now.

If you’ve not jumped on the raw Brussels sprouts bandwagon I hope this salad can convince you. They are great in just about any salad. They hold up well which I always see as a major salad bonus. When slicing my tool of choice is the mandolin (this one is my favorite). When candied bacon isn’t an option I also like to combine some frilly shaved Brussels sprouts with white beans or chickpeas. I always find a crumble of cheese like feta or flecks of Parmesan is nice and toss it all together with a shallot vinaigrette or just lemon and olive oil.

You can find the recipe on the Electrolux site.

Before you leave though can we get real for a moment? I mean I know salads are real but I wanted to check in with you and see how you are feeling about this week? It’s kind of a tough one isn’t it? Last week on my Insta-story I sat with you in a puddle of my honesty and sought your guidance. The only question I could muster was, “What can we do?” What can we do in a world where it feels like hate and division are winning? How can we be a stronger voice for love, peace, and grace in this broken place filled with us; broken people?

Many of you are in the same place I am. Hurting, broken, and at a loss for what we can do to help our country heal. We are in this together and together we can do great things.

There are many great and beautiful things happening right now. Let’s talk about those things. Let’s focus on those things.

Here are a few of my responses to the question, “What can I do?”

First of all I have a renewed passion for gathering people at our table. Long lingering meals where people feel at home in ours. Where one meal trickles on to the next and the food just keeps filling the table. Sometimes this feels too small but I’m constantly reminded of the power of the table and I plan to continue to further invest in that mission.

“We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent.” Bryan Stevenson writes this in his book, Just Mercy. He continues. “I began thinking about what would happen if we all just acknowledged our brokenness, if we owned up to our weaknesses, our deficits, our biases, our fears. Maybe if we did, we wouldn’t want to kill the broken among us who have killed others.” I want to continue to be open in my brokenness and believe in my own healing and forgiveness so I can do the same for others. We are all broken and I believe love to be the only salve.

I get so excited about fostering the community that this site built. Some of you might come here just for the recipes and that’s totally fine, you are welcome. But it’s always been more than that for me. This used to simply be my place of rest and light while deep in the throes of raising young children. It was where my creativity lived while scrubbing crusted cereal off the floors. It was the happy place my mind wandered to while reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear for the 1,000th time. Part of my day is still spent scrubbing crusty cereal off the floor but they’re also quite capable of doing that themselves. All of that to say now I feel more able to help and serve you all. One of my main goals in this place has always been to inspire you to get food on the table and to enjoy it; the food, the process, all of it. Finding the beauty in the everyday as always been a part of my mission through the recipes, words, and images that live on the site. I’m ready and excited for more of that and to make this place more helpful for you.

The current political climate has ripped the scales from my eyes and revealed the work that needs to be done. I’m sorry for those who have been hurting for a long time while I sat by doing and saying nothing. No more. A friend of mine said the other night that she is tired of cowering and is ready to take up more space in this world. I love that. My voice will be louder and I will take up more space for the purpose of loving and serving the broken (all of us).

There are many incredible organizations to give to and that is, of course, a wonderful action to take right now. Many of you know that a portion of our each sale from our shop goes directly to an organization that we love, First Aid Arts. Right now my heart is bursting at the seams to tell you about a fundraiser that my sweet oldest son has come up with. After reading about mosquitos and how they are the deadliest animal on the planet he was moved to action. He has set a goal to raise $2,000 which will be enough money to provide 2,000 (!!) mosquito nets for families around the world. I’ll be sharing more about this as we continue to think through our fundraising plans. In the meantime feel free to check out his amazing website he and Gabe made. You guys, love bombs are bursting all over the place!! This, this gives me so much hope and happy, gushy feelings.

Finally, in that Insta-story I mentioned earlier, my new friend Shaina from Shaina Saw had the amazing idea of flooding the Internet with images of love on Friday (or maybe all week). She suggests “family, weddings, children, accomplishments, stores. Whatever love means to you. All day. We don’t buy in to the negativity. We project the values we hope to see in our country.” Damn. You guys are amazing. I love this! Who’s in? We’re using the hashtag #sharethegood so we can all follow the love train. Let’s let that be the prevailing message.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Candied Bacon

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Candied Bacon and Cranberries

Find the recipe here.

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