Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Amazing Chicken Meatballs

I have a love-hate relationship with my food processor.  I love what it can do, but for some reason I just hate it. Mark Bittman in the NY Times did a big piece singing the glories of the food processor and how it could change the way you cook, but I couldn't get behind the sentiment.  I think the act of putting it together is just the first of its many faults for me.  The entire time it's in-use and drying on the counter after-use, I leave the big box on the counter and it taunts me.  It sings, You should just put me away, already.  I respond, But then I'd have to take you back out to put the food processor in again, anyway.  I can see that I'm not getting my point across well, but safe to say, I hate it.

John hates it too, mostly because he gets stuck cleaning the thing.  Nothing like a plastic bowl that never quite gets rid of the oily sheen from pesto and a large dangerous blade to make for an unpleasant dish washing experience.

All hate aside, we still use our food processor, and I consider it an essential element of my kitchen.  Trust me, if could make bread crumbs or pesto any other way, I would.  And frankly, I use the old just-mash-it-with-a-rolling-pin trick on many occasions, when I feel I can get away with not using my food processor.

Bittman's article contained quite a few interesting food processor recipes, but the one that really caught my eye was for chicken meatballs.  Honestly, I'm not really a meatball kind of gal.  I rarely eat them, and am even more rarely impressed by them.  This recipe doesn't use ground chicken, though.  Instead, you grind the chicken yourself in a food processor.  Whoa.  The recipe called for chicken thigh meat, but I don't keep that kind of stuff around, so I went with chicken breasts instead.

John and I were both pretty shocked by how delicious these little guys tasted.  For one, they are not at all dry, like meatballs can be.  They taste extremely "fresh" to use a boring (and not fresh) word.  The fresh parsley is a must in this recipe, and makes this recipe taste nothing like those ground beef meatballs you are used to.  I served mine with a smidge of tomato sauce on the side, preferably the easy kind you have in your freezer.

As John and I devoured what was allegedly supposed to serve 8 people (who are these people with no appetite??), I knew this was a recipe I'd be making again soon and sharing with my readers.  This is the most exciting way to use chicken breasts I've seen in ages.  And, it's even worth breaking out your food processor for!

Chicken Meatballs
Adapted from Mark Bittman

Makes 2 very large servings

2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (or 1 pound chicken thigh meat)
1 oz. Parmesan cheese (about the size of your pinky finger)
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 egg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
All purpose flour
Lemon wedges
Tomato sauce for serving

Cut chicken into 1 to 2 inch chunks and place in your freezer for 30 minutes while doing the rest of the prep.  Put parsley and onion into the food processor with either grated Parmesan or a soft chunk (mine was too hard - if you use a microplane to grate yours, it will be too hard for the food processor, so grate it yourself).  Process until everything is finely chopped.  Add kosher salt, ground pepper, one egg, and the chicken to the food processor and pulse until the chicken is coarsely ground (a little bit finer than chopped).  Shape into 1-inch meatballs and lay on a large plate.  They will be fairly loose.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  One at a time, dredge the meatballs in flour and then place in the hot pan.  You should work in two batches.  Cook the chicken until browned on all sides, rotating once browned.  This will take 8-10 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges to brighten up the flavor and with a side of tomato sauce.


  1. haha, incidentally, i still haven't used the food processor that you and john gave us. but i think i've found a reason to now! yum :)

  2. I hardly use my food processor because I'm afraid of the blade. Is that weird? Not just the using it part, but you can totally hurt yourself on it taking it out and cleaning it! Guess I better get used to it before I start making my own baby food.

  3. oh, and ironic part: YOU are the one who got us our food processor. haha.

  4. that does look impressive. i'm interested

  5. I don't own a food processer for all the reasons you listed! LOL!


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