Chicken Sausage Meatballs in Moroccan Tagine Sauce

I just found out about a new line of simmer sauces and was fortunate enough to obtain some free samples. Since I love playing with food, it was exciting to test the varieties and see what unique and tasty dishes I could come up with, including this one!

I’ve been wanting to spread my wings and experiment with more international cuisine. However, sometimes buying the specific ingredients for certain recipes can add up (not the best scenario when I’m trying to watch my budget). I also find it extremely wasteful buying full bottles and containers of specialty products when a recipe may only call for a small amount. Unless I make a slew of dishes with those ingredients, I’m stuck with a pantry or refrigerator full of things that may expire and have to be thrown out.

It looks like Saffron Road’s Simmer Sauces have solved that issue by coming out with ready-to-use packages offering some popular Indian, Thai, Korean and Moroccan sauce options. Other than the actual sauce, all you need to buy is your protein and veggies, and then you’re good to go. Well, unless you’re like me and want to have some fun trying to use it in ways outside of the standard package instructions!

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If you’re fairly sensitive to spicy ingredients like I am, allow me to save you from making a little mistake that I did….please be sure to pay close attention to the heat meter on the front of the sauce packages. Unfortunately, I didn’t and quickly learned the hard way (I’m still laughing at myself over this). I prepared a meal accidentally using a sauce that was marked “hot”…way too strong for my timid taste buds. I wound up spending several minutes trying to extinguish my mouth with a flour tortilla after taking a few large bites. I probably should’ve stopped after the first bite, but I was so roped in with all of the delicious flavors that I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, lesson learned.

Therefore, when choosing your sauce, be sure to base it upon individual heat preference in addition to the actual type of sauce. The “medium” and “mild” options were definitely more my speed. I know plenty of friends and family that would be perfectly happy with the “hot” varieties. In fact, the folks I’m thinking of might even add some extra kick into their dishes on top of what the packaged sauce already offers!

I used the Moroccan Tagine Simmer Sauce, which was marked “medium,” to make this recipe. I figured that its profile would work really well with the nutmeg, allspice and ginger that I was putting into the chicken meatball mixture.

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While I felt that carrots and brussels sprouts were great complements to the meat, you could replace with other veggies if you prefer.

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Feel free to serve the meal with rice or noodles if you don’t want mashed potatoes. Those clouds of potatoes really hit the spot though, especially with that blanket of aromatic sauce…mmm mmm mmm.

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Ingredients

16 oz. package Italian chicken sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk (I used Smart Balance lactose-free fat free milk)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen or fresh carrots, sliced
1 cup frozen or fresh brussels sprouts, quartered
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
7 oz. package Saffron Road, Moroccan Tagine Simmer Sauce
Mashed potatoes (preparation of your choice)

Preparation

1. Set a small pan to low-medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté onion and garlic in pan until tender. Transfer from pan into a large bowl to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

3. In the bowl with the sautéed onion and garlic, add the chicken sausage, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, milk, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and salt & pepper. Thoroughly combine mixture and then roll meat into 1 1/2 to 2-inch meatballs (approximately 14 meatballs). Place onto lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned (flipping after 10 minutes). Let meatballs rest in pan on cooling rack while you prepare vegetables & sauce.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add carrots and brussels sprouts, gently tossing to coat in oil. Cook until slightly tender but still firm, about 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer, then set on low-medium heat. Stir in Moroccan Tagine simmer sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes until it just begins to lightly boil, then reduce to low.

5. Gently add cooked meatballs to the pan and spoon sauce over meatballs until all are coated well. Allow everything to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.

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