Lately one of my favorite food sites is Food52. They are consistently tweeting and pinning and posting some really neat stuff. I noticed that they recently wrapped up a best meatballs contest (how did I miss this?!) and instantly got to clicking through the entries. It was the runner-up that really caught my eye: Kefta-Style meatballs with grilled grapes and yogurt sauce? Yes, please! I have been wanting to cook grapes ever since my good pal Kelly made these roasted grapes and brought them to a picnic. For some reason cooking grapes seems like such a crazy concept to me... well not anymore. Getting nature's little juice balls all hot and bothered really brings out their essence... they taste grapier than raw grapes!
Through the years I have seen several recipes combining chicken and grapes, and they seem to be crowd-pleasers. Inspired by the Food52 kefta recipe, I came up with these Moroccan influenced chicken balls to pair with the sauteed grapes. These were fantastic! I will definitely be making these for parties... they are easy and quick to make, with a flavor combination that will excite people.
Moroccan Chicken Balls with Skillet Grapes and Honey Yogurt
-8 oz. plain Greek Yogurt
-1 lemon (zest and juice will be used)
-1 teaspoon honey
-1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cumin
-1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped (divided)
-1 pound ground chicken
-2 shallots, chopped fine
-1 teaspoon coriander
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-salt and pepper
-olive oil for cooking
-about 3 dozen red grapes, picked from bunch and washed
Combine the yogurt with honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 1 half the juice of the lemon, 1 teaspoon cumin and a couple large pinches of the parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside in fridge.
Put about a Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add the grapes and cook for about 8 minutes until skin is blistered and starting to brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Cook the shallots in some olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining cumin, coriander, cinnamon and salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, another couple of minutes. Set off heat to cool while you prepare the rest of the meatball ingredients.
Combine the chicken, the rest of the lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley in a bowl. Add the cooled shallots and mix well, using your hands. Form meat mixture into small balls, not much larger than the grapes. This will make 30-36 balls. Cook the balls in a skillet coated with olive oil, in 2 batches so they are not crowded. Cook, turning gently as needed until they are cooked through and nicely brown on he outside. Repeat with rest of meatballs.
Skewer the grapes and meatballs onto toothpicks and serve with the yogurt sauce.