Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lemon Chicken Meatballs

There is something I have been wanting to confess for a while. It is not something I am proud of. It's hard to hold my head high knowing what is in my heart. I do not like meatballs. I find them greasy and heavy and not at all pleasant. Yes, I have tried lots of recipes including several that claim to be the best classic meatballs. But try as I may, meatballs just don't do anything for me.

It's tough getting through life with an aversion to meatballs. People look at me funny when I pass them up. My kids think my taste buds are impaired. I am hoping you will accept me as I am. I'm hoping that you, dear readers, will not try to convince me to try your grandmother's one-of-a-kind meatball recipe or to come out to your home for a dinner of the best homemade meatballs ever.
My son's creation! He hollowed out the bread and stuffed in the meatballs. 
If you came to this page hoping for traditional meatballs, please accept my apologies. These meatballs are really not meatballs. They have dried mushrooms, lemon zest, and ground chicken. Not a trace of tomato. Not a trace of beef. They are light and lemony. And I think I could eat them every night of the week.

Lemon Chicken Meatballs 
By Total time: 
If you have chicken or vegetable broth, use it. It'll enrich the flavors. But if you don't, just use water. You'll barely taste the difference. 

a handful of dried mushrooms 
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 

1 onion, chopped 

1/2 cup of good sherry or dry white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (or water) 
1 pound ground chicken  
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 scallion, diced 
1/2 teaspoon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

First, soak the mushrooms in hot water for about 20 minutes. When they are done, drain and reserve the water and let the mushrooms cool. When they are cool enough to handle, chop them finely.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet that has a lid, saute the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Remove the onion from the pan and place it in a medium bowl. Mix it with the wine, 1/2 cup of reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and 1 cup of stock or water. Set aside.

Combine the chopped mushroom, chicken, lemon zest and juice, egg, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, parsley, scallion, and mustard in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and then shape into balls.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet. Saute the chicken meatballs for about 5 minutes per side, until they are nicely browned.

Add the onion/wine/stock mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer gently, covered, for about 1/2 hour. Serve over pasta, rice, or in subs.

Linking this up to Ultimate Recipe Swap


  1. I am not much of a meatball person, either, but these actually sound good, especially with the lemon. I can almost smell them from here :)

  2. I never liked meatballs, either! Now that we only eat pastured beef, which is so much less greasy, I can tolerate them if they're baked. But I still don't like them.

  3. Everyone has their little quirks, we should never hold it against each other :) I was raised with an Italian grandmother who made some fantastic meatballs...but you gotta know how to make them, and I too have had some really greasy, heavy ones that were not tasty at all. These look and sound really good. I'll definitely have to try them!

  4. Not gonna lie, I'm not the biggest meatball fan either. (ANd I'm 100% ITALIAN. Bad. Really bad.) But this lemony version is one I could definitely love!

  5. Chicken meatballs are so very in right now. Which makes them easier to love.

  6. I'm a huge meatball fan. These sound like a great alternative to the real thing.

  7. I just commented but it didnt work!! Basically - I am so glad you have given me a new way to make chicken! I am so sick of my marinades... Thank you!

  8. I absolutely love meatballs (I have an Italian mother who, like all Italian mothers, makes the best ever!). I love this change up though!

  9. Love that these are chicken! These look like tasty morsels :)

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  10. I love these meatballs. I like that you used chicken in it! Very nice.

  11. Thanks to all of you for stopping by. I'm glad to meet some new friends! It seems there's a whole community of us out there who aren't fond of meatballs. And for those of you who do, feel free to try these anyway. You have my blessing. :)

  12. First of all, your pictures are gorgeous! I love the first one. And, anything that has mushrooms (love) and booze (love love) I will eat -- literally anything with those I will eat, even if it has chicken, which I am actually warming too :)

  13. Oh, those look fabulous!!! Will have to try this one. :) Thanks for the visit today!

  14. I only make chicken or turkey meatballs or a combo but my husband keeps asking for beef. As a result, I don't make meatballs often.

    These sound like a good combination with the lemon flavor.

    I never realized that so many did not like meatballs. You opened my eyes to something new - aversion of meatballs.

  15. Oh what a great idea! I have some ground turkey in the freezer I will use for these.


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