I absolutely love these chicken meatballs, I came across the recipe about a year ago at Smitten Kitchen and have been making them ever since. Everyone who has had them agrees they are delicious! You will get hooked on these things. I've pretty much followed the recipe with a few changes here and there. One difference is that I grind my own chicken, if you have access to a meat grinder I recommend it, it tastes better and you know exactly what is in it. I use chicken breast and trim off any fat so that the meat is lean.
Also I use panko bread crumbs, I like the lightness and not being overwhelmed by bread.
I chose not to include garlic, but it's an option if you want to you can add a bit with the onion and pancetta. And about the pancetta. You can buy this at Trader Joe's and it's just the right size, all cut up in perfectly dice pieces, and I've also used bacon, the thick cut yummy stuff, cut it into small pieces and honestly I think it's better than the pancetta because you get all that good bacon flavor going on.
For the sauce I didn't intend to make a blue cheese sauce, I really wanted feta, but our feta was on its way out the door so blue cheese it was. It works really well, but if you don't like blue cheese just swap it out for some feta or whatever you like, just make sure it's crumbled or shredded. The sauce is great when it's right out of the pot. If you refrigerate and microwave later it loses some thickness, it still tastes good it's just not as thick as it should be, or how it could be. So I would recommend making the sauce close to serving time if you can.
We never tire of these chicken meatballs and they are treat ever time. All smiles at the table.
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Serving for 4
- 1 pound freshly ground chicken breast*
- 1/2 large red onion finely chopped
- 3 ounces pancetta finely chopped (you can use bacon as well, finely chopped)
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumb
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil - divided
- 1 tablespoons tomato paste plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 400°
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet, add the onions for about 1 minute then add the pancetta for an additional 7-8 minutes. Remove from pan to cool.
In large bowl whisk egg and combine ground chicken, pancetta mix, breadcrumbs, parsley and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Mix throughly and form balls, 12 large or 24 smaller(appetizer size)
Place meatballs in baking dish. With a pastry brush top each meatball with a little olive oil and then with a little dab of tomato paste on each.
Bake large meatballs for 20 minutes, small meatballs for 15-17 minutes
*I use a kitchen-aid with attachment to grind the meat, grind the chicken when it's semi-frozen, it's easier passing through, and only pass once, it gives the meatballs a meatier texture.
Blue cheese sauce
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 crumbled blue cheese (alternatively you can use feta or another type of cheese)
Heat milk in small pot, in another pot heat butter, when butter is melted whisk in flour, keep whisking for about a minute over low heat. Add the hot milk slowly and keep whisking for about 4-5 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese for about a minute. (This recipe can be doubled, but the time for thickening may take a few minutes longer).