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Originally published December 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Page modified December 12, 2012 at 12:06 PM

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Lemon Grass Chicken Meatballs With Sassy Peanut Sauce

Kathy Casey recommends this recipe as a do-ahead appetizer for a party. Meatballs are often a hit, but she spiced these up to add a bit more interest.

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Makes 48 meatballs

It’s important to use ground thigh meat in this recipe as it’s much more meatball friendly and makes a juicier meatball than regular ground white meat. You can make the meatball mixture the day before and the sauce up to a week ahead.

¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha Asian hot sauce

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh lemon grass

1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion

1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ to ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs (see chef’s note)

1 ½ pounds ground chicken thigh meat

For garnishing:

Sassy Peanut Sauce (see accompanying recipe)

Fresh cilantro leaves

Lime wedges

1. In a large bowl, combine the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek, vinegar, ginger, garlic, lemon grass, green onion, granulated onion, kosher salt and ½ cup of the panko crumbs. Stir well to combine, and then add the chicken meat. With clean hands, mix the bread crumb mixture into the chicken well. If the mixture seems to be too wet, add up to another ¼ cup of panko crumbs and mix in well.

2. The recipe can be made to this point, covered tightly, and refrigerated for up to 1 day in advance.

3. When ready to cook the meatballs, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4. Thoroughly spray a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Scoop up level tablespoonfuls of the chicken mixture, shape into 48 balls, and place, spaced apart, on the baking sheet.

5. Bake for about 4 minutes, then flip the meatballs over and cook for about 4 minutes more, until lightly browned and cooked through.

6. Serve immediately on a platter, drizzling the meatballs with a little peanut sauce. Scatter the platter with cilantro leaves and tuck in lime wedges for squeezing. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.Chef’s Note: Ground thigh meat is the best for this recipe and we found it available at Whole Foods. When we also tested the recipe with regular ground chicken meat we had to add an extra ¼ cup of panko, as the chicken tended to be more wet.

Sassy Peanut Sauce

Makes 1 ¼ cups

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

½ cup water

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

½ teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha Asian hot sauce

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. If using unsweetened peanut butter, taste the sauce and add a pinch more sugar if desired.You can make the sauce up to a week in advance and hold refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.

© Kathy Casey Food Studios® - dishingwithkathycasey.com

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