A Sarcastic Appetite

Baked Chicken Meatballs
March 23, 2010, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well hellooooo dear reader(s)! I don’t need to tell you it’s been awhile. I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking; my life has sort of gotten in the way. But the Nutritional Ninja still needs to eat, and has been complaining quite loudly and plaintively about my continued absence from the kitchen. Last night I found myself wandering around Gristede’s, not really moved by anything and unsure of what to make. (What can I say? I’m a little out of practice.) Two aisles later, I’m staring down a package of ground chicken, and the wheels start moving. I immediately remembered this recipe, one that I had mentally bookmarked when Deb made it back in October. I could only hazily recall the list of ingredients, but I remembered two things: they required tomato paste and pancetta – both of which I knew I had. (Turns out they also require 3 slices of Italian bread, which I did not have, but I substituted panko bread crumbs, added the full 1/3 c. of milk and was delighted with the results.)

I love meatballs that don’t require my standing over a hot pan, turning them over and over until they’re evenly browned. These come together in about 15 minutes and bake in another 20 or so. Serve them with a salad and be done with it. They’re delicious – even cold, the next day for lunch. I’m amazed. I should really do this more often…

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Makes 11-12, depending on how big you make them. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, where it was adapted from Gourmet.

3 oz. pancetta, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped (put it through the food processor to make things simpler if you want)

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 large egg

1 c. panko bread crumbs

1/3 c. milk

1 lb. ground chicken

2 tbps. tomato paste

3 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Saute the onion, garlic, and pancetta in 1 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper; saute until the onions are soft – about 6-7  minutes. Set aside and let cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, add the panko and milk and mix slightly; in another small bowl, beat the egg slightly.

In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, bread crumb mixture,  and 1 tbsp. of tomato paste. Add the onion and pancetta mixture and the parsley and mix well. Shape into 12 meatballs and place on a rimmed cookie sheet. In a small bowl, mix together the other tbsp. of tomato paste and olive oil. They don’t really cohere but just run with it – and brush the mixture over the tops of the meatballs. Bake for 15-20 minutes (though mine took more like 22).

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Those meatballs were fantastic! I felt a little guilty dumping them into a jar of ready-made sauce – but I grated my own parmesan! Alice is coming over for a tasting – she was so impressed that they were BAKED! She is so into healthy. I’ll never make my own recipe again – Love, Mrs. Taggart (aka Mrs. Mary)

Comment by Karen Taggart

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