So we have a new obsession with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I haven't really used them much except for the last six months or so. But they have so much more flavor and juiciness than chicken breasts.
So I wanted to make these Kung Pao Chicken Meatballs with Noodles. My grocery store had boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 3-lb packages, buy one, get one free. We got two packages for around $12, and it was enough for four meals. Great deal! Now, how did I make meatballs with that, you ask? Well, we have a Kitchenaid stand mixer and we have a meat grinder attachment. Don't panic. You don't have to have one. Just go to the meat counter at your grocery store, bring them a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and ask them to grind it for you. They will have it ready by the time you finish your shopping at no charge. Sure, you can buy prepackaged ground chicken, but I don't know whether it's dark or light meat. I also can't tell you what the consistency of these meatballs would be or if you need to add anything to it.
But I will tell you that I have made a LOT of meatballs in my life with ground beef, pork, or sausage. But these chicken meatballs were by far the best meatballs to come out of my chicken. And the Kung Pao sauce and noodles with the meatball were darn tasty! Enjoy!
KUNG PAO CHICKEN MEATBALLS WITH NOODLES
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
1 lb ground boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 T dried minced onion
1 C panko breadcrumbs
1/4 C soy sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried ginger
FOR THE SAUCE:
1 C soy sauce
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C Mirin
1-2 T chili paste (sambal oelek)
1 C brown sugar
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T cornstarch
Few drops sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried ginger
4 hot Asian chilies, left whole
FOR THE NOODLES:
1 lb long noodles (spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine)
3 green onions, sliced
One 6-ounce can roasted peanuts
NOTES: If you go with the boneless, skinless chicken thighs, your meatballs will be very wet. But that's okay. They stay moist and juicy. If you go with pre-ground chicken, you may want to add an egg or even milk to get the same result. Also, the hot Asian chilies are very hot. Leave them whole for subtle heat. Break them up in the sauce for very hot heat. Or you can leave them out altogether.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the meatball ingredients together and shape the meatballs into 1-inch meatballs. Place them in a casserole pan and bake them for 30-35 minutes or until they are done.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn off the heat.
When the meatballs and pasta are done, drain the pasta and add the sauce, meatballs, green onions, and peanuts to the noodles and toss it all together.