chicken meatballs, two ways

the weather in frankfurt has finally taken an autumnal turn and i’ve been excited to look at food better suited to cooler days. these chicken, pancetta and parmesan meatballs were a great success - not surprising really, when you take those three ingredients and add fresh rosemary and sage (it’s so nice to break out these woody herbs).

i made a double batch of meatballs, which we ate over two meals. the first, pictured above, was a broth made from chicken stock flavoured with bay and more rosemary to which i also added spinach and mange tout. if you wanted something more filling, a handful of pasta or some noodles would have been a nice addition.

for the second meal, i fried the meatballs in a  little olive oil, took them out of the pan and then made a tomato sauce flavoured with garlic, chilli flakes and a sprig of rosemary. the meatballs were returned to the sauce to heat through and we ate this with tagliatelle, topped with grated parmesan.

both were deliciously rich while still being light enough to remind me that it is only the very earliest days of autumn.

chicken pancetta and parmesan meatballs and kale broth (enough for 4 portions)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

80g sliced pancetta, finely chopped

2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about a tablespoon)

8 sage leaves, finely chopped

50g parmesan, finely grated

400g chicken mince (i chopped my meat by hand which added a bit more texture to the meatballs)

a handful of fresh breadcrumbs

1 egg white, lightly beaten

heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and pancetta and cook until the onion is soft. add the herbs and cook for another minute. remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

once cool, add the parmesan, chicken and breadcrumbs and mix together. add the egg white gradually, mixing together – you want a mixture that holds together and is soft but not too sticky. add more breadcrumbs if it feels too wet or extra egg white if too dry.

with damp hands, form into walnut-sized balls, lay on a lined tray and chill until ready to use.

for my soup, i added the raw meatballs to the flavoured broth, so they poach in the liquid; for the meatballs in tomato soup i fried them in a little olive oil before heating through in the sauce as it finished cooking.