Wednesday, February 8, 2012

surprisingly simple chicken meatballs

The meatball:  common fare in such classic settings as cocktail parties and mafia movies.

The one thing that bothers me about meatballs is how simple they seem and yet how poorly they can turn out.  I usually shy away from ordering them because the chance that they arrive dry and one-note is pretty high.  After stumbling upon a great article about meatballs in the NY Times, I decided to try my hand at one of their simple recipes involving a few common ingredients (read: I was feeling lazy).

Chicken Meatballs (adapted from NY Times)
yields about 16 meatballs

1 lb. boneless chicken thighs
1 oz. semi-hard Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley
1/2 Medium Onion, cut into chunks
2-3 garlic cloves
1 egg
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
AP Flour
Lemon Wedges (optional)

Place the chicken in the freezer while preparing the other ingredients (this makes it easier to chop in the food processor).  Put the Parmesan, parsley leaves, garlic, and onion in a food processor and process until finely chopped. [Warning:  do not over process or else the water from the onions will render your meatball mixture useless.]  Add the egg, chicken, and heavy pinch of salt/pepper, and continue to pulse until the chicken is coarsely ground (barely beyond chopped; again avoid wringing out the onions too much).  Take the meat mixture and shape into one-inch meatballs, pressing no more than necessary.

Prepare a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat.  Once the oil is ready (begins to shimmer), dredge the meatballs one by one in the flour and add to the oil.  Turn the meatballs as each side browns until a nice golden crust has formed (12-15 minutes).

Serve hot or at room temperature.  I enjoyed these meatballs over a number of courses, first simply with lemon, then with an easy herb white sauce (butter, flour, milk, s&p, herbs), and finally with a marinara sauce on a baguette as a sub sandwich.  Heather even said that she would use this recipe to make delicious chicken burgers for a summer party.  Whatever you choose, the meatballs are simple to make and came out very juicy and flavorful thanks to the onions, garlic, and Parmesan.


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