Italian Chicken Meatballs

"I love a good meatball, but -for some reason- mine tend to fall apart all the time. Finally, I found a blend of ingredients that hung together and had a flavor that was less "tomato and basil" (like many Italian dishes) but was rather "fennel, thyme, and garlic.""
photo by David J Rust photo by David J Rust
photo by David J Rust
Ready In:
1hr 30mins




  • Heat your oven to 325°F.
  • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the fennel seeds and red chili flakes until their aroma begins to smell smoky and more pronounced. Do not let them burn. Remove them from heat and grind them, in a coffee or spice grinder, with 1 teaspoon -each- of dried basil, marjoram, and thyme. Set this spice blend aside.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the three ounces Vidalia onions, green bell pepper, and celery in 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • Season the vegetables with 1/4 teaspoon -each- of salt and black pepper. (Adjust to reflect personal tastes.) Add 5 cloves of minced garlic and continue to sauté until the vegetables are completely softened.
  • Add the three tablespoons skim milk to the vegetables and cook to further soften them until all the milk appears to have been absorbed.
  • Remove the vegetables from heat and cool for a few minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 egg, 1 ounce parmesan cheese, and the spice blend (see step 2, above) with a wooden spoon. Blend thoroughly.
  • Add the cooled vegetables and stir them in to the chicken mixture, completely incorporating the them.
  • Keeping one hand dry, form small, golf-ball sized balls (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter) from the meat and roll in the flour. Roll the floured meatballs in your hand to remove the excess. (NOTE: You will probably use a cup of flour, but only an ounce or so will stick to the meatballs when you knock off the excess.) This will make approximately 20 meatballs.
  • In a skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until hot. Add the meatballs (do not over-crowd; do this in several batches if necessary) and lightly brown them on one side, first, before flipping them over and doing the other. Each side should take about 3 minutes.
  • When all the meatballs have been browned, set them aside and -in the skillet where they were browned- sauté 3 minced garlic cloves and the 1 ounce of minced shallot. Add the diced tomatoes, teaspoon of both marjoram and thyme, and the 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and black pepper. Mix together and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Place the browned meatballs in a baking dish and pour the tomato mixture over them. Put the meatballs and sauce in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove the finished meatballs, place them on a platter, and garnish with 1 ounce grated parmesan cheese and 1 ounce finely chopped green onion.
  • Serve family style with rice, pasta, gnocci, or broccoli.

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  1. Both me and my husband really enjoyed these meatballs. The only thing that I did differently was to make up my own red sauce, other than that i didn't change a thing. I really enjoyed using the chicken, rather than beef, they didn't seem so heavy and filling. I will absolutely make these again.


A cooking enthusiast since a young age, I worked for several restaurants to get myself through college. After graduating with a degree in History (Ancient Civilizations), though, I ended up going to work in the Internet and Journalism worlds. During this time, I kept experimenting. I confess I do have diagnosed depression and anxiety, so my enthusiasm for cooking has flagged in recent years. It's difficult, at times, to find energy or drive. But every now and then I'll find something new to create and upload it, here. Thanks for following me and hanging in there during this relative slow period in my life.
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