Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Snowvember and Chicken Bites with Balsamic Dipping Sauce

Here in the Northeast we are having our first "snow" event of the season and as luck would have it, it is coming on the heels of a major hurricane. My thoughts and prayers go out to those still suffering from the effects of Sandy.
Mother Nature - knock it off.

These bites are packed full of flavor and would be perfect for a snowy afternoon or a football watching day.

Chicken Bites with Balsamic Dipping Sauce: (yield 36)

olive oil
2 pounds ground lean chicken
1/2 of a large sweet onion (such as vidalia)
salt and pepper
4 sheets puff pastry
16 ounces goat cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eight ounce packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (optional)
1 egg, beaten (set aside)

Balsamic Dipping Sauce:

2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2/3 cups balsamic vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Defrost the puff pastry for approximately 40 minutes on the kitchen counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
Combine the ground chicken, sweet onion, drained spinach (optional) and salt and pepper. Shape into 36 small balls (about the size of small golf balls) and brown in olive oil. No need to cook through as we are going to bake them in a bit. Remove from pan and set aside.

Combine the goat cheese with the basil, thyme and garlic. Set aside.

Unroll the puff pastry on a lightly floured board and cut each rectangle into 9 squares.
Place a tablespoon of the herbed goat cheese in the middle of each square and top with a chicken meatball. Wrap up the puff pastry around the meatball by pulling up each "triangle" end up and over the meatball. Place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each bite with the beaten egg (this will give the puffs a nice shiny, golden color)

Bake the chicken bites for 20 to 25 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

While the bites are baking, make the sauce.

Directions for sauce:

Whisk the brown sugar and cornstarch in a medium large pan. Add the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar and whisk. Add the minced garlic. Cook over medium high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. The sauce will bubble and thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the warm bites with the warm sauce for dipping. If you want to make this a dinner instead of an appetizer add a light salad with warm vinaigrette dressing.

Stay warm, stay safe Northeast it can't be long till spring.

This recipe (including the sauce) can easily be halved. The sauce and the meatballs can easily be made in advance. Cover and refrigerate the meatballs. Warm the sauce before serving.

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