There are myriad ways to enjoy these; I went through every combination of hot and cold, reheating the sauce, the meatballs, both, or neither. All are good! When you bake the meatballs, some cheese will ooze out (this is okay—delicious, actually!). To re-achieve the gooey effect, however, I would recommend reheating them in the microwave before eating, even inside the pita as a whole sandwich. To add more crunch, shredded cabbage would work nicely as a base in the pita, or even as a bed of greens to make this a salad.
With entertaining season around the corner, consider making mini versions of these as hors d'oeuvres with the yogurt sauce (minus the carrots) for dipping. Just remember to adjust the baking time!
About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Follow her recipes and cooking adventures at TheSuzChef.com and on twitter @the_suzchef.
- Yield:Serves 3 to 4
- Active time: 25 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces ground chicken
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced carrots
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Pita pockets, for serving
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment or foil. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet pan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add spinach and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool slightly, then squeeze out excess liquid and finely chop. Combine spinach in bowl with chicken, feta cheese, paprika, egg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Thoroughly combine; the mixture should be wet but not soupy from egg. Roll mixture evenly into about 2-inch balls and place on baking sheet; bake until just cooked through, 13 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice and zest, carrots, chives and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Refrigerate in airtight container. Let meatballs cool slightly, then refrigerate until ready to eat. To enjoy warm, reheat in microwave, with or without yogurt sauce, for about 30 seconds. Serve with pita bread.