We all have a repertoire of holiday appetizers that we make year after year. These recipes are family favourites that we look forward to making and sharing every season. Sometimes, it is nice to change things up a bit. This recipe for Chicken, Millet and Spinach Appetizers was developed because I was looking for a way to incorporate lean ground chicken into a lighter first course or appetizer. The final result was this recipe for Chicken, Millet and Spinach Appetizers – a delicious, attractive and lean recipe.
Millet was chosen as an ingredient in this recipe for several reasons – it binds well with the delicate texture of the ground chicken and it is also gluten-free and inexpensive. Millet is an ancient seed that one-third of the world uses in their diet because it is rich in iron, B vitamins and calcium. The chlorophyll from the spinach and parsley tints the ground chicken mixture to a unique green colour. This makes the appetizers a colourful addition to the holiday season due to their garden-fresh appearance. I encourage you to try this delicious appetizer – not only for the holidays but all year around.
Chicken, Millet and Spinach Appetizers
Yield: 36 appetizers (1 Tablespoon/15 g each), depending on the size of your portion scoop
CHEF TALK: This is a tasty appetizer and quick and easy to make because of the uncomplicated ingredients. To maintain the bright green colour of the patty mixture, cook them over low heat. Due to the small size of the appetizers, they cook quickly (two minutes per side). A garnish of finely diced red bell pepper or sliced grape tomatoes creates an attractive and seasonally themed appetizer. See “What Else Can I Do With This Recipe?” below for further ideas.
- The cooked appetizers freeze very well so you can make them ahead and have them ready for last-minute guests.
- Substitute cooked quinoa for the millet
- Substitute chopped kale for the spinach
- Substitute fresh chopped dill for the mint
- This recipe is gluten-free.
- To cook millet: In a saucepan, place 1 cup millet seed and 2 cups of liquid (water or broth). Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave covered for a further 10 minutes. Fluff the mixture with a fork. 1 cup of millet seed yields 3 cups of cooked millet. Use one cup of cooked millet for this recipe and freeze the remaining millet for other uses (millet is delicious for breakfast with milk and fruit, or added to grain salads, or used to thicken and fortify soups).
Chicken, Millet and Spinach Appetizers
- 3/4 lb. (340 g) ground chicken
- 1 cup (250 ml) cooked and cooled millet or quinoa
- 2 cups (about 50 g), loosely packed spinach, chopped finely
- 3 ½ oz. (100 g) feta cheese, (approximately ¾ cup, crumbled)
- 1 egg white (30 ml)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely chopped mint leaves
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
To serve: Tzatziki or Greek Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)
- Red bell pepper, very finely diced (brunoise)
- Grape tomato, thinly sliced
- In a large bowl, place the ground chicken, millet, spinach, feta cheese, egg white, lemon zest, mint and parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and mix well to combine. CHEF TIP: It is always a good idea to safely check the seasoning in any raw ground meat mixtures by taking a small amount of the raw mixture, forming it into a tiny meat patty and frying it in a frying pan until cooked. Taste the cooked meat patty, and if required, adjust the seasoning to your taste. Repeat with a second patty, if necessary.
- Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 tablespoon/15-20 g) to portion and shape the mixture into small balls. CHEF TIP: dip your fingers into cold water to make rolling the mixture into balls much easier. Flatten the balls slightly to make tiny patties.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Over low to medium heat, cook the patties in batches for two minutes on each side until firmed up but not browned. Remove them to a plate when cooked and repeat with the remaining patties. Add more oil if necessary.
- Serve the appetizers with Greek Yogurt Sauce (recipe below) or store-bought tzatziki. They are tasty warm (or serve at room temperature within one hour). For make-ahead, refrigerate the cooked appetizers in a sealed container until required and then re-warm them in the oven or in the microwave. Present on a platter with tzatziki on the side, or place a small spoonful of tzatziki on top of each patty and garnish with red pepper or sliced grape tomato.
GREEK YOGURT SAUCE
- 1 cup (250 ml) plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup English cucumber, finely shredded or minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion or chopped chives
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion salt, optional
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the Greek Yogurt Sauce for an hour before serving.
What Else Can I Do With This Recipe?
Small Plates: Portions can be increased to a small patty size by changing the size of your cookie scoop. Serve two or three per person together with Tzatziki for dipping.
Sliders: Portion the mixture into slider size patties and serve with lightly dressed baby greens for a light lunch.
Croquettes: You can easily transform the mixture into crunchy appetizers by dredging the raw patties into breadcrumbs and deep-frying them.
Here is your step-by-step in photos on How to Make Chicken, Millet and Spinach Appetizers:
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This post was inspired from a recipe by Donna Hay.