Meatballs and Balsamic-Apple Chutney

Tonight we had a very simple dinner, and I thought this would be great as an appetizer too.  Simple to prepare, a nice mix of flavours, not too complex for kids and ingredients that are easily accessible, and possibly already in your fridge/pantry.

The key to this quick meal is the chutney.  The meatballs are a slight variation on any basic meatball recipe you might have made already, but it’s the chutney that makes this recipe.

The chutney can be prepared in a skillet as follows:

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and add 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt – use Kosher salt if you have it.  Cook it over medium heat until the onions are just golden – this shouldn’t be longer than 10 minutes.  Make sure you stir it a lot.  Add 3 apples (Granny Smith are best, as they’re slightly tarter – peeled, cored and chopped as finely as you chopped the onion), 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Keep cooking the mixture over medium heat until most of the moisture is absorbed/evaporated.  Add about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of water to the mix and simmer it, covered, for about 20 minutes – until the apples are nice and tender.

As far as the meatballs go, they’re simple:

Ingredients:

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, just lightly beaten

2 tbsp. minced onion

1/3 cup of blue cheese crumbles – if you don’t like blue cheese, you can use feta cheese as well – it’s great either way

Mix the ingredients and add about a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper and form small meatballs.  Just broil them on a baking sheet (either non-stick or lined with foil and sprayed with PAM) for about 8 minutes, up to 10 minutes – as long as they are cooked through.

That’s it!  Serve the meatballs with the chutney.  We have tried this a number of ways – you can toss the meatballs in the chutney or serve them separately.  Our preference is to serve them separately with home-made pita chips.  The flavours go together very well.  If you choose to use feta, it will have a less strong taste obviously and might have a higher CAF (child-acceptance factor).  We’ve served it as an appetizer, and in that case, we sprinkle it with more blue or feta cheese crumbles and we’ve also added flat-leaf parsley as a nice way to catch the eye.

Our kids’ reactions:  Abigail – she eats most things and enjoys them – she enjoys this, but with feta cheese – blue cheese is a bit too complex for her, I think.  Amalie – she’s pickier – she enjoyed this as well, with the exception of the chutney.  She liked the meatballs, regardless of cheese choice, and obviously pita chips are a great way to get her to eat.

Hope you enjoy it!

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About Wildsau

I’ve been a cliched happily-married husband for over 10 years, father to 2 girls and 1 boy. I’m an outspoken guy, Apple evangelist, car freak, mini-van driver and a seeker of justice for the people. I’m a proud lifelong resident of Edmonton, AB and love my Edmonton Oilers. I truly enjoy a good coffee, especially paired with conversation, and I’ll take a piece of pie any time. I'm starting to enjoy quality teas lately but that's probably my age. My wife and I love cooking, creating gourmet experiences and sharing them with people, whether it’s in person or with pictures. My career allows me to work with people at their most vulnerable, and I appreciate their trust in me. I try to exercise empathy in life, as I realize I could easily be walking a mile in someone else’s shoes before I know it. Follow me on Twitter at @Wildsau if you’re interested in my daily blathering. But buckle up and be forewarned, it’s not for the faint of heart at times.
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