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:
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!
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, feel free to share it, and feel free to browse our other recipes under the food tab on my blog.