I remember going to grandmothers house-(where my mother grew up) during the summer time to visit her. I would only go there in the summer time, New Year’s or Easter because she lived 4 hours away; during my summer break, I would stay there for couple of months.
I remember one summer my grandmother made some special meat balls. No meatballs that I ever had before could compare. They were chicken meatballs stuffed with raw rice and stewed in a thick flavorful gravy. Once the meatballs were cooked, the rice became infused with the spices from the gravy and meatballs. The meatballs were so good that I licked the plate clean every time. Also, grandmother would always make fresh bread to go with meat balls and gravy. When I was old enough, my grandmother taught me how to make the meat balls.
Not only did I share the recipe with my girls but I also got chance to share the family history behind the meatballs; and now I am sharing with all of you.
Grab some fresh baked bread for dipping and enjoy!
1 1/2 Lbs. ground chicken or turkey
1 large egg
3 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked rice, washed
1 Tbsp. Heavy cream
1 Tbsp. fresh dill – finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated (through a cheese grater)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley- finely chopped
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/6 tsp. nutmeg- ground
1 tsp. Cumin-ground
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Grind the chicken by using a meat grinder or use store-bought. Combine together ground chicken, uncooked rice, egg, heavy cream, 1 Tbsp. fresh herbs (dill or parsley), and garlic. Season with salt (about 1 tsp.) and black pepper.
Mix well until all the ingredients well combined.
Water your hands, form the chicken mixture into 1 inch balls and set them on a tray.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and mix well so all the onions and carrots will get coated with flour; cook for one minute. Slowly add chicken broth and stir until smooth and thickened.
In a small bowl, whisk the tomato paste with 1 cup of cold water. Stir in to the gravy tomato paste mixture, cumin, nutmeg, paprika; add bay leaves, season with salt and pepper; when gravy is thickened and became smooth add the meatballs. Bring the sauce to a boil; reduce the heat down to low; cover the pot and cook on low heat for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and dill. Serve with mashed potatoes or simply with fresh baked bread, just like my grandmother used to do.