I don’t think there is anything WORSE than a dry, flavorless meatball. I love the concept of meatballs however, I do not like red meat (steak, hamburger, veal I won’t eat it.) I just simply don’t like it. I did have some ground chicken that I needed to use up so I thought hmmmmm…..Chicken meatballs??? It sounded good but I was afraid it wouldn’t taste as good as it sounded. Ground chicken can become very dry, fall apart and at times be just blah. I researched chicken meatballs to find that 90% of the complaints in reviews were either the meatballs were “to dry” or “flavorless”. So I was very skeptical of trying to make them. THEN friends THEN I found a recipe….BAKED CHICKEN MEATBALLS!!!!!! And this recipe was on several other popular blogs so I figured if it’s good enough for them it is good enough for me. I whipped these babies up in no time and had them baking in the oven pronto. They are super simple, super easy and honestly fairly healthy for a meatball. I prepped and made these in the later part of the morning. Lets just say by the time dinner rolled around, well there weren’t to many of these left. (yes they were THAT good!) Even reheated the next day they still tasted exactly the same if not better. This is DEFINATLY my new go to recipe ! ps…I took these photos of only the meatballs so that you could see how they turned out. Once they were done baking I simmered them in marinara sauce for about 20 minutes then served over pasta. YUM!
Baked Chicken Meatballs
Adapted from Gourmet & summershutter
3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (if you don’t have this use a couple slices of bacon chopped up really fine it will give it a tiny smokey flavor but still delicious!)
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 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, about 15 to 20 minutes