When doing a round of Whole30, I get pretty scrappy with making things that I am craving become compliant. For example, I was *really* craving some good ole enchiladas and I had some ground chicken in my fridge. I thought it’d be fun to do an enchilada-style chicken meatball for a lean take on enchiladas that also just so happen to be Whole30. These are *so yummy* and you can really serve them up any way that you prefer: they’d be great as a gameday appetizer, or for dinner served over prepared cauliflower rice!
These meatballs really are a flavor explosion of enchilada goodness that I think you’ll just love!! And don’t worry, they really aren’t spicy– my entire family enjoyed them!
Chicken Enchilada Meatballs
For the Chicken Meatballs:
- 1.5 lbs ground chicken thigh (can sub ground beef or ground turkey thigh)
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, very finely diced
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
For the Enchilada Sauce:
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tsp kosher salt , or more to taste
- freshly chopped cilantro, optional
- finely diced red onion, optional
Make the Meatballs:
- In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients (except for the avocado oil). Mix until well combined. Using your hands (damp hands help with working with ground chicken thigh since it's a little sticky) form into 2 inch round meatballs.
- Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat with the avocado oil. When hot, drop in the meatballs and cook on each side until a golden brown crust forms, about 3 minutes a side. The meatballs do not have to be completely cooked through as they will continue to cook in the sauce. Transfer browned meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Make the Enchilada Sauce:
- Rinse and wipe down the skillet. Melt the ghee in the skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the arrowroot starch and whisk until combined. Add the chili powder, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Whisk together until combined and saute to really bring out the flavors in the spices for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
- Add the tomato paste and whisk until combined, then, slowly pour in 1 1/2 cups of the beef broth, whisking constantly, so that the sauce combines. Let cook until thickened, 4-5 minutes, whisking often. When very thick, remove from heat and slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of the beef broth, whisking constantly to loosen up the sauce so that it is the perfect consistency for enchiladas!
Finish the Meatballs:
- Nestle the browned meatballs into the enchilada sauce and cook, simmering and covered, until the meatballs are completely cook through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (cut into one of the meatballs to make sure they are no longer pink).
- Remove the meatballs from the heat and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and diced onion. Serve over prepared cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or alone! Enjoy!