Chicken Meatballs

I got this recipe from another blogger, but I liked them so much I thought I would share!  This recipe is taken directly from:  http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/10/baked-chicken-meatballs/

3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (you can swap in Canadian Bacon if you can’t find pancetta)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided*
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F with a racks the upper thirds. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.

Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. (Alternately, as in “I thought of this after the fact”, I’d bet you could render the pancetta for a couple minutes and cook the onions and garlic in that fat, rather than olive oil.) Cool slightly.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan (I used a 9×13 roasting dish).

Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs (the paste/oil does not mix in any cohesive manner, but just smoosh it on and run with it) , then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (though mine took a good 5 minutes longer).

* I accidentally added a heaping tablespoon of the tomato paste into the meatball mixture the first time I made it, and ended up liking it better than without it. I’d use the tomato paste on top too. It’s good both places.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe.  Jeff and I made meatball subs with them and they were terrific!  I’m sure they would be great with pasta or in any dish you would need meatballs.  One little note…I used a mini ice cream scoop and ended up with 26 little meatballs.  You can make a bunch in advance and freeze them as well.  YUM!

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