Cheesy Meatballs in Caper Sauce

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Ground chicken can be pretty bland, but not in this recipe. Fresh pork sausage, Parmesan cheese, anchovies (you won't taste them at all!), and Dijon mustard really kick up the flavor. The tangy caper sauce is the perfect complement. Although this recipe is great as an entree, I get the most compliments when I serve them as a party appetizer. Omit the sauce, and it's also low-carb.

1 pound fresh bulk pork sausage, sage-flavored (see Notes)
1 pound ground chicken
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned stuff)
1 small sweet onion, finely minced (about 1 cup)
4 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or 2 anchovy filets, finely minced) (see Notes)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups chicken, veal, or beef stock (or a combination)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon chopped capers

In a large bowl, combine pork sausage, ground chicken, Parmesan cheese, sweet onion, garlic, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, parsley, egg, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with your hands being careful not to overwork the meat. Form into 1-inch meatballs. 

Bring stock to a simmer in a large pot. Place the meatballs into the stock in one layer, cover, and gently simmer for 15 minutes. (You may need to do this in batches.) Remove meatballs and keep warm. Strain and reserve 2 cups of the cooking broth. 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for two minutes, stirring often. While stirring, add wine and cook 1 minute, then add 2 cups of reserved broth along with lemon juice. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Add capers and simmer for 5 minutes. Return meatballs to the pot, tossing to coat. 

Serve over noodles, rice, or potatoes. May also be used as an appetizer. Keep warm in a crockpot on low setting. Yield: 4 entree servings or 8 to 10 appetizer servings .

Notes: If you cannot find sage-seasoned pork sausage at your market, simply use regular fresh pork sausage and add 1/2 teaspoon dried or rubbed sage to the recipe. Please do not omit the anchovies. Although you will not be able to single out the taste, they are an essential seasoning for these meatballs. 

Source: Peggy Trowbridge, Home Cooking

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