These are not to be confused with a meatball you drop into tomato sauce, please. I’ll never forget that dark day when my mother upon the advice of her nutritionist switched from beef and pork meatballs for her Sunday sauce to turkey or chicken. Now in theory the nutritionist was giving some good healthy advice..less red meat, less fatty meat, more lean poultry. I get it. The piece that my dear late mom was never told by the good doctor was that unless it’s 100% white meat and/or natural or organic free range etc, that ground poultry was close to or at least as high in many of the things she was trying to avoid. Are you shocked? Will you run now to Foodbabe (not a fan, just saying) to see if this is correct? I’ll help you out..this is why..when something is termed ground chicken or turkey it means ANY part of the bird is used..like the dark meat..yes, succulent and flavorful, but fatty. It means skin, yes, delicious and wonderful on a roasted or fried bird, but when you are buying that ground poultry is mixed up into the meat and basically is fatty filler. Look closely at that label. BROTH and additives along with water are added and hello..that means salt. Salt is not the enemy, i’m not advocating that, but if you are trying to stay “lean” or be more healthy, ground turkey for example is loaded with extra “flavorings”. A grind of beef is generally just ground beef. Pound for pound you are buying a processed product…so does this mean I’m anti-ground poultry? Absolutely not. Great product when you are buying it in it’s simply ground form. Unfortunately as with most of our American accessible food supply, it’s not that easy to find and generally ridiculously priced. Not a fair way to play, but, it is what it is. So when does A FOOD OBSESSION use ground poultry? Lots of ways, for apps, for stuffings, for breakfast sausages, for meatloaves, and for meatballs..but not with tomato sauce unless it’s a Mexican style sauce. The most popular ITALIAN way of eating meatballs is as a main course and only certain regions pair them with a sauce and pasta meal. Let this blog post be a detour from the usual, i love taking detours, there’s a world of different out there to explore! This recipe is a common type of meatball dish which is served with greens, a salad, potatoes, usually roasted in olive oil, garlic, and rosemary or some herbed raw tomatoes, especially if they are in season. For this meal I paired it with some beautifully colored and ripe local heirloom tomatoes simply dressed with extra virgin OLIVE OIL, fresh OREGANO, ground BLACK PEPPER and SEA SALT. Let’s go into the kitchen and get this Chicken Meatballs (POLPETTE DI POLLO) started and PLEASE, this is not the WAY TO MAKE CHICKEN MEATBALLS, it’s ONE of virtually an endless combinations to make an endless number of meatballs.
MAKES: 20 meatballs TIME: 40 minutes
1 lb GROUND 100% ORGANIC OR NATURAL CHICKEN, WHITE MEAT OR A BLEND (BLEND IS BETTER ALL AROUND, TRUST ME)
1/4 CUP GRATED PROVOLONE CHEESE (FROM ITALY, NOT DOMESTIC AND SHARP)
1/8 CUP WHOLE MILK RICOTTA
1 FINELY MINCED CLOVE OF GARLIC
3 TABLESPOONS ITALIAN BREADCRUMBS, MOISTENED WITH A LITTLE WHITE WINE
2 FRESH EGGS, BEATEN WITH BLACK PEPPER, PINCH OF SALT, 3 TBS. FINELY MINCED PARSLEY
1 TSP. FRESH CHOPPED BASIL
1 WHOLE CLOVE OF GARLIC
FLOUR FOR DREDGING
at least 10 WHOLE BASIL LEAVES
In a large bowl, blend the ricotta, provolone, breadcrumbs, eggs, and basil together. Then add the ground poultry. Do not over blend. Form into 20 medium sized meatballs, about the size of a large walnut. Roll the balls in sifted flour shake off excess. Chill for 10 minutes. In a skillet add 1 1/2 tbs. olive oil and heat on medium. Smash that clove of garlic and add it too the pan. Remove when it just begins to turn golden. Now in batches depending on the size of your pan gently fry the meatballs till browned on all sides, remember this is chicken…so this should take about 10 minutes per batch. If you find the meatballs are getting too brown your heat is too high. Reduce. They should look like this before you remove them: Toss a few basil leaves over them..then discard (why? it’s just flavor for now, we’ll return to the basil shortly). Keep the finished balls warm in on a covered plate there is one more step. When you are done frying the balls, add a little more olive oil, then deglaze the pan with about 1/8 cup of White Wine, or Vermouth, or Marsala and bring to a boil, then simmer. Add the meatballs gently to the pan and let this simmer until the wine is pretty much evaporated. Let those chicken balls (sounds dirty) soak up all that flavor. Takes another 10 minutes. Let them sit for 5 minutes before serving and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over them, coating them so they look “glazed”. Serve with more basil leaves on top. NICE!!! Happy Cooking!!