Hi. So it’s suddenly very wintery here. It’s stew & braise and build a fire weather. It’s comfort food time. It gets dark at 4:30 and that is tough. For me one way to combat the gloom is to have a warm cheery fire and a house that smells of delicious slow cooked food & love.
Last night we had friends over so I decided to make chicken meatballs because who doesn’t love a good chicken meatball right?
I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind but I have made enough meatballs over the years to know which methods produce a good juicy flavorful meatball. So here is what I did:
Turned on my oven to 350 degrees.
Made Marcella Hazan’s amazing and magical classic tomato sauce.
Yes that is a large hunk of butter in the sauce. Do NOT change this. If you want to be healthier don’t make this sauce.
In one bowl I grated a quarter on an onion with a micro plane to that I added about 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs and 1/2 a cup (maybe a bit more) of milk. Then I chopped 3 cloves of garlic and about 1/2 a cup of parsley and some salt and added that. Put your garlic cloves over your parsley and sprinkle with salt and then chop it all together. Add about 2lbs ground chicken to that mix and then add in about 2 TBS of tomato paste, 1/2 a cup of parmesan cheese, 1 egg and 1 tsp or slightly more of salt and lots of ground pepper. Mix this very well until everything is combined. Then make a tester meatball and fry in some olive oil and taste for seasoning. If everything tastes good go ahead and starting browning your meatballs in a saute pan with some olive oil. You just need to brown the meatballs because they are going to finish cooking in the oven.
Once your meatballs are browned and carmelized on the outside put in a 9×11 baking dish cover with tinfoil and put in the oven. They will look like this:
Repeat this step until all your meatballs are browned. Once they are all browned, remove the onion from your tomato sauce and pour sauce over meatballs. Cover with tinfoil and place in the oven while your water is boiling.
I served ours over wide egg noodles. These were extremely flavorful and moist and we all really liked them. I think its important to keep the meatballs covered while they are in the oven so they don’t dry out so don’t skip that step:-)
Here are the ingredients:
- 2 lbs of ground chicken
- 1 quarter onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
- 1 tsp salt plus more for chopping parsley
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- Olive Oil for frying
- 1 Tsp Smoky Paprika
- 1 thick sliced piece of pancetta chopped as finely as possible
- 1 additional clove of garlic
- 1 additional tsp salt
Add all additional ingredients to ground chicken mixture before forming meatballs.
For the sauce:
- 1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 onion-halved
- 5 tbs butter
- S & P
Make the sauce. Then follow the method above to make the meatballs. Make a fire. Pour a glass of wine. Enjoy.
**** NOTE: I made these tonight with some changes. Used about 4TBS of tomato paste. I know it sounds like a lot and it is. But I did it anyway. Added some chopped thick pancetta to the mix. Added about 1 tsp of smoky paprika. I used an additional tsp of salt and added 1 extra clove of garlic. Also I left the onions from the sauce in the pan when I put the meatballs in the oven and served the onion slices with the meatballs. These were really good improvements and I think the meatballs were better than ever!!!