Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Baked Chicken Meatballs

These are probably the best meatballs I have ever made or eaten.  The boys just loved them but who doesn't love bacon.  Even if it is Italian bacon (better known as Pancetta).  Bacon does make everything taste better.  I have seen another meatball recipe that uses American style bacon.  I'm probably going to have to try that one, too.  The author of this recipe says you can use Canadian bacon if you can't find Pancetta but I don't think that would work for me.  Too much like ham.  She also said you could probably render the Pancetta and then cook the onion and garlic in the fat from that instead of the olive oil.  I didn't but I'm sure the meatballs would have tasted even better that way.  

Baked Chicken Meatballs
by Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4, or more as appetizers or sliders
3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.

Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan or a 9×13 roasting dish.

Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs, then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.


The Creative Cook