Anyone who has ever eaten with me knows that I love spicy foods, especially all things buffalo, which is why “Buffalo Wings” was harangued into the title of my blog (full disclosure: Sam came up with the name). It was then only fitting that my first non-political piece for this little project would be related to my beloved buffalo sauce. However, before I get into the delicious recipe that Sam made for me last Thursday night I thought it would be best to give a brief history on my affinity that delicious combination of vinegar, chilies, spices, salt, and pepper (international news is also pretty depressing right now, and I couldn’t bring myself to bang out a piece on Brexit, Syria, North Korea the various EU crises, or Trump. I will save my venting piece on the Sharks’ current struggles for later in the week).
As a kid of partially Hispanic descent I had always liked spicy foods more than most kids my age, but my love for buffalo chicken wings themselves was really kindled by an experience my mother and I had on a family trip to Walt Disney World in the year 2000. My mom, dad, sister (who was 3 at the time) and myself took a weeklong trip to MickeyWorldTM during my 3-week October break from school—my elementary school was on a year-round schedule which meant only a 6 week summer but three weeks off in October, December, and March (nice, right?). It was about halfway through the trip, and on this particular day my dad was off doing something dads do when they get dragged to Disney World with their young families (At the spa? Golfing? Finding new ways to combine denim shorts and white New Balance shoes?), and Taryn was at the hotel kids club (or something like that, I really don’t remember).
It was just my mom and I for lunch so she did what all good moms do and took me to ESPN Zone so I could stuff my 9-year old face with fried food, watch sports, and play arcade games. After reviewing ESPN Zone’s selection of fine frozen mozzarella sticks and undercooked potato skins, we settled on the large bucket of chicken wings to share between us. Apparently we did not read the fine print on the menu, for the waiter brought us a literal paint bucket (a small paint bucket, but still a paint bucket) filled with 21 chicken wings—and these weren’t the single wings, but 21 FULL WINGS, so we really had 42 wings between the 2 of us.
We were definitely surprised, but knew it would be shameful to not even attempt to eat them all, so we tucked in and gave it our best shot (I honestly can’t remember if we finished the whole bucket). The wings were delicious, and ever since that day I have always had a tendency to order those spicy, bony little pieces of deliciousness wherever I can. In college I tried basically every buffalo chicken pizza available in the Boston area (Roggie’s was my go-to but only because it was so close to BC), and to this day I continue to love buffalo (a full review of all the buffalo wings available in Ocean Beach is another piece I have lined up for here).
That being said, enough history. Let’s get to the delicious Honey Mustard Buffalo Meatballs Sam cooked for me last Thursday.
Before I begin, I must give full credit for this recipe to Whitney Bond, from whom this excellent recipe came. You can find the direct link to this recipe on her website here.
I will defer ingredients and instructions to the bottom and instead talk about the food itself (another full disclosure: Sam did all the cooking while I played PlayStation).
In short, the meatballs were delicious. The chicken and pork combined with the garlic, onions, and other meatball ingredients very nicely. After cooking, the meatballs were juicy and rich, and did not fall apart on my plate as some homemade meatballs are wont to do. The honey mustard dressing and buffalo sauce blended together into a delicious mixture that was both sweet and spicy, bold and subtle. Sam melted some mozzarella cheese onto some ciabatta bread to create a sort of open-faced sandwich which helped to round out the meal.
One of my favorite aspects of the meatballs were how versatile they were. The following Sunday morning, I broke apart a couple of the meatballs until they looked ground up and tossed them into a skilled with some cooking oil. I then heated the meat for a few minutes to get it hot (it had already been cooked), and then added three eggs and scrambled up the whole pan for a sort of chorizo-and-eggs style dish. Later that night, I turned on the broiler in my oven and melted some mozzarella and garlic onto a French sandwich roll, then added some meatballs and sauce for a delicious sub.
As a long-time lover of all things buffalo, I was a huge fan of these meatballs and must give thanks to Whitney Bond for the excellent recipe as well as my lovely girlfriend Sam for knowing me so well and preparing them for me. Keep an eye out for more buffalo-related pieces in the coming weeks!
(Please excuse the crappy iPhone photos).
Here is the recipe and instructions (again, this is via Whitney Bond’s website).
- 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 1 cup diced onions
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 lb ground pork
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buffalo sauce
- 1 cup honey mustard dressing
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet, or dutch oven, over medium high heat, add the onions and cook 3-5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken and ground pork with the cooked onions and garlic. Add the breadcrumbs, chili powder, paprika and eggs. Combine well without over mixing.
Form into golf ball sized meatballs. Add the remaining tbsp olive oil to the large skillet in which the onions were cooked. Place the skillet on the stove over medium high heat.
Add the meatballs and brown on each side for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the buffalo sauce and honey mustard dressing over the meatballs.
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can slow cook the meatballs. After they’re seared, transfer the meatballs to a slow cooker, then pour the buffalo sauce and honey mustard into the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, or on low for 5-6 hours.
Once the meatballs are cooked, you can turn the slow cooker to warm and you’ll have delicious buffalo chicken meatballs hot & ready whenever your party guests arrive!