ALL DOGS WANT FOR X’MAS IS… CHICKAPEA

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Before I break this less amiable truth about myself amidst my holiday break with family, I first want to say that in spite of what I’m about to confess, please believe that I’m an otherwise OK human being deep, deep within.   I stare at leaves and generate deep thoughts.  I lovingly ignore children only because I’m afraid of what I might do to them.  And when presented with uncertainty, I always choose the recyclable bin to throw my ambiguously categorized trash… just in case.  Because I heart earth.  But…

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… despite all that, what I’m telling you next is unforgivable.  As a public recipe-sharer/dogs-enthusiast for the past 20 months, I got some nerve hiding the fact that… I used to have this homemade dog-food company… and have been withholding plenty of tail-wagging recipes for all this time… and never shared.  I am.  Absolutely despicable.  In fact, I don’t need your forgiveness.  I owe my apology to all the four-legged cheerballs who, during last Christmas when this site was perfectly able, howled in injustice when they had their furry face slapped with sawdust biscuits, while everyone else was happy receiving month-long orgasmic twisted cookie fuck-fest.  The merriest cheerballs ate sand-bones, and you feasted on butter.  The fault was mine.

But not this year, my friend.  Not this year.

This year, you are going to put in as much heart as you put into those freaking cookies, at making this tail-paralysingly delicious meatballs made with fresh chicken, peas, apples and all other sorts of goodness, to every single cheerball you know on this earth, who love us more than we love ourselves.  Who love us even if we gave them sand-bones, love us even if we fed them sawdusts.  And their love for us has got nothing to do with the moment when they drool in ecstasy at a ribbon-tied bag of chickapea that you titteringly reveal from your winter jacket.

Which is precisely, why they deserve it.

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Makes: roughly 120 mini meatballs

Other edible gift ideas for holiday:  Hot peppercorn peanut brittles, salted egg yolk cookies, pumpkin snickerdoodles, Amaretto financiers.

Other Christmas feast menu:  Spicy salmon mini hand rolls, spicy lamb cigars with yogurt dip, sticky rice stuffed goose beast, Jerk-spiced porchetta.

The batch that I made and photographed was only 1/2 of the recipe because I was running low on chicken thighs.  If you happen to have some leftover cooked brown rice, you could add 1 cup to the recipe as well.

Ingredients:

  • 28.2 oz (800 grams) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approx 6 thighs), cut into small pieces
  • 6.3 oz (180 grams) of chicken liver
  • 1 granny smith apple (140 grams), cored and cut into small pieces
  • 1 small carrot (140 grams), peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (140 grams) of frozen peas
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) of flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of safflower oil (or flaxseed oil)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Preheat the broiler on high.

In a food-processor, pulse and grind the chicken thighs and chicken liver until smoothly ground/pureed (if you have a small food-processor, you may do this in 2 batches).  Make sure there are no large chunks left when you do this, and transfer the ground meat into a stand-mixer bowl.  Then add the granny smith apple and carrot in the food-processor (no need to wash), pulse until finely minced, and transfer to the stand-mixer bowl as well.  Grind the flaxseeds with 1/2 cup of rolled oats in a spice-grinder.  Rinse the frozen peas through a sieve to make sure they are separated WITHOUT any ice-cubes attached, dry thoroughly on a kitchen towel.  Add everything along with the remaining 1/2 cup of rolled oats, sesame oil, safflower oil and salt to the stand-mixer bowl.

With a stand-mixer, beat the mixture with a paddle-attachment on high speed for about 5 min, until thick and sticky.  What this does is it binds the excess water in the mixture with protein, and gives you springy meatballs that won’t release water during baking.  You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon, but expect really sore muscles.  If you want to skip this step, be warned that you might get watery meatballs in the oven.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and make mini meatballs the size of a large melon-baller, with 1″ (3 cm) space in between.  Place the baking sheet on the middle-upper rack in the oven, about 3 1/2″ (9 cm) below the broiler.  Bake for 15 min, but remember to shake the baking sheet every 5 min in between to roll the meatballs around for even browning.  Prepare another sheet of meatballs while the first batch is baking, then after 15 min, move the first batch to the lower rack in the oven for another 5 min to finish cooking, and place the second batch on the middle-upper rack to brown.  Repeat the same process with every batch.

After each batch has been baked on the middle-upper rack for 15 min, then the lower rack for another 5 min, you can remove it from the oven and let then cool on a cooling-rack.

Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze them for up to 2 months.  Reheat in the microwave to bring them back to room-temperature (but not hot!) before giving them to some seriously wagging tails.

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8 Comments

  • Reply December 23, 2013

    Iris R.

    I love this! I make dog treats every once in a while, but I’ve never thought of meatballs. My pup is notoriously picky, but I’m pretty sure he would flip over these. Love the packaging and the cute note in the last photo. Mine hasn’t exactly been a good boy either…but he’ll still get some goodies from Santa too…

  • Reply December 23, 2013

    Anna

    These sound awesome. I don’t have a spice grinder. I’m wondering if my food processor will work. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply December 24, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Anna, if you don’t have a spice grinder, you can toast the flaxseeds on the skillet and add it whole with the rolled oats. But you may need to introduce a little bit of barley flour, or wheat germs as the “binder” (instead of ground oats).

  • Reply December 23, 2013

    Helens

    Wow, these are like a spruced up version of what I make for my dog when he’s ill and won’t eat. Well, it’s what I make for him when he comes home from the vet. If he has to stay at the vets then I end up spending a significant chunk of every evening wandering around the car park with him, trying to coax him into eating just a little bit of chicken… please doggy you like chicken. He doesn’t much like the vet. Luckily I hit on a winner – doggy soup – chicken, rice, vegetables, cooked, blended – take to vet – put in doggy bowl – watch in trepidation as doggy sniffs at bowl and decides that a) he IS hungry b) that DOES smell good c) it’s kind of a liquid, so if he has some then it counts as drinking not eating and he won’t have given in and broken his anti-vet hunger strike. Win.

  • Reply December 24, 2013

    Sophie

    A legitimate and healthful dog treat, I love that you posted this! We can’t forget to love on our furry friends this time of year. Or, anytime. So fun seeing photos of your little buddies :) They look absolutely thrilled with what’s on their plates! How fun. Bravo on these!

  • Reply December 29, 2013

    Laurie

    Hey Mandy,
    Finally have time to comment. First of all, I, too, lovingly ignore children (horrible as it may sound). Secondly, if I don’t make these treats for my dogs they will never forgive me!

    Do you use dark (toasted) sesame oil? I am thinking yes because of the great flavor. These are probably pretty tasty. Period. Have you tried them?

    Have a “let’s make everything wonderful thoughts” kind of year.

    Cheers,
    Laurie

    • Reply December 29, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Laurie, yes it’s the toasted kind!

  • Reply December 30, 2013

    robi

    love love love this!…….made my own dog food for years, but have gotten very lazy about it lately….but will definitely take the time to make these……would much rather do that then spend
    time making holiday cookies for people who are so unappreciative….my pups will love these for sure….happy healthy new year to you……..robi

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