About the Recipe
So much has changed recently it has become especially challenging for home cooks to think about making meals for the family-adults and kids alike, that are both satisfying and appealing and also provides delicious leftovers.
I recently tried a new version of the traditional Rhodesli meatballs albondigas de carne cooked in a flavourful tomato sauce.
These soft, melt-in-your-mouth, lightly spiced chicken meatballs are perfect comfort food served over rice or pasta. I hope this recipe brings much joy to your loved ones!
For the chicken meatballs: 1kg (21⁄4lbs) chicken breast (I use half chicken breasts and half thighs) or ground chicken breast
1 small onion, finely chopped (1⁄4 cup) 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated 1 large egg 1 tsp shawarma spice (or any spice to your liking)
11⁄2 tsp kosher salt 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 1⁄4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 slices white bread, soaked in 1⁄4 cup buttermilk (or water) then whizzed in the food processor for uniform blend
For the tomato sauce: 3 tbsp olive oil 5 small shallots or 2 small onions, peeled and cut in half 2 cups peeled, seeded and roughly chopped fresh ripe tomatoes or good quality canned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 2 cups chicken broth (or hot water) 1 tsp sugar sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 3 whole sprigs flat leaf parsley 1⁄4 cup full fat, plain yoghurt (optional)
For serving: 1 tbsp each of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, use leaves and tender stems, and fresh dill
Prepare the chicken meatballs: Add chicken breasts and thighs to a food processor and blitz to a course ground texture. You can also use ground chicken and skip this step. Add the chicken to a large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined. Knead well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Make the tomato sauce: In a large, shallow, heavy-based pan bring all the tomato sauce ingredients to a boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the yoghurt (optional).
Shape the chicken meatballs with dampened hands and dredge them lightly in flour, patting off the excess.
Drop the chicken meatballs gently into the pan with the tomato sauce and pour in a little simmering broth (or hot water) so that the sauce comes about halfway up the meatballs. Cover and continue to cook at a very low simmer for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are tender. Shake the pan. Add a little more broth (or water) if necessary.
To serve. Scatter with the fresh herbs.
Gluten-free chicken meatballs: Replace the flour with oat or gluten free flour and use gluten free bread.