Meatballs are not only an economical meal, but they can be eaten so many ways. Hot, cold, in a bread roll or covered in melted cheese and red sauce - just some ideas to get your tastebuds salivating.
We've taken the standard flavours of a family favourite meal 'Chicken, tomato passata and cheese' and added them into a meatball. When using mince meat, I would always encourage using a meat with a higher percentage of fat. It will keep the meat tender when cooking. In this instance, we used chicken thigh mince (opposed to standard mince).
Breadcrumbs are a great way to bind meatballs however, if you use too many, they can tend to make the meat tough. It's best to use less and only add a 'little bit' at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency (not too wet).
Another thing we love about this recipe is the option to create a whole separate meal, using the filling of meatballs. Why not try wrapping a portion of the meatball mixture in puff pastry to make sausage rolls? A perfect lunch box addition and they can be frozen and baked as needed.
Chicken Parma Meatballs
Ingredients (makes approximately 18 meatballs)
1kg chicken thigh mince
1 large carrot
1-2 cloves garlic
2 large button mushrooms
1 stick celery
1 cup baby spinach
1 large egg (700g)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs (homemade if possible)
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli (optional)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 stalks fresh thyme
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup olive oil plus extra for cooking
1 tablespoon butter
In a food processor blitz carrots, onion, celery, thyme, garlic
Finely chop the mushrooms
Finely chop parsley and baby spinach and set aside
In a medium saucepan on medium heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the carrot, onion mix (season lightly) and stir for a few minutes.
Add the butter and mix through the mushrooms. Cook for another few minutes. Turn off heat and allow mix to cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 deg (fan forced). Line a large baking tray.
In a large bowl add the beaten egg along with the chicken mince, Parmesan, paprika, oregano, chilli, salt, carrot/mushroom/onion mix, cracked pepper, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, parsley and baby spinach.
Combine and mixture and if it feels too wet add a tablespoon or so more breadcrumbs. (Add slowly as you don’t want to add to much because the meatballs will be tough)
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
Wet you hands and start to roll the meatballs to the size you would like. Add to the baking tray.
When the ball are all rolled, using a cooking brush, dab the top of each meatball with the tomato paste/olive oil mixture. This will give them a lovely colour and delicious taste.
Bake on the middle tray for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Serve hot however they are perfect the next day for kids lunch boxes.
The uncooked meatballs can be frozen.
Alternatively use the mixture and place on thin sheets of puff pastry to make sausage rolls