Tinkering about in my kitchen one day with some ground chicken I found at the local grocery store, I thought I would give meatballs a try. Without binders like eggs and breadcrumbs (wheat and eggs are a no-go in my house) the meatballs may break apart; well then I can just crumble them up into meat sauce. Lo and behold, these fennel chicken meatballs worked like a charm.
Often, when one thinks of meatballs, images of bulky, brown clumps of beef swimming in red sauce come to mind; always within stereotypical proximity of spaghetti… Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pasta con polpetti as much as anyone. However, mixing it up for the spice of life is loads of fun.
As my family and I have been striving to eat healthy on a regular basis (even despite food sensitivities and allergy challenges). We are constantly on the lookout for healthier versions of things we love, for example: meatballs. A simple switch from beef to chicken makes a healthier version that is amenable to a vast range of flavour combinations.
You may see me talking on occasion about “using the force”; playing by intuition and proving more times than not that it’s better to be lucky than smart. This was one of those instances; and in the spirit of working with a net, I knew if the texture went south, the flavour could still work out as something else. These turned out perfectly firm and the flavour was such that we’ve paired them with a couple other dishes I’ve also posted here.
This simple fennel chicken meatballs recipe sets the stage for any number of dishes; pasta, appetizers for a pot luck affair, sandwiches. And all with just some lean ground chicken and some spices…. It’s refreshingly light, simple and quick; no need to mess about with fillers or binders.
Fennel Chicken Meatballs
- Mixing bowl, baking sheet, oven
- 1 lb lean ground chicken
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp basil
- 1 Tbsp thyme
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
- Lay out mixture onto a cutting board and form into a uniformly thick log
- Cut the log into equal sized sections
- Roll each section into a ball and place on a parchment papered sheet pan
- Bake at 375F (on convection setting if your oven has it) for 25-30 minutes until a minimum internal temperature of 165F is reached.
- Serve with your favorite sauce and/or pasta or by themselves as an appetizer