Smoky Baked Chicken Meatballs

, from Issue #80. September, 2018
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Smoky Baked Chicken Meatballs

I love a good meatball but they need to be well seasoned with a light texture. The sweet/sour topping adds the finishing touch.

Serves: 4


½ cup milk
1 large egg, size 7
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cumin
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
finely grated zest ½ an orange and 1 lemon
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
600 grams good quality chicken and herb sausages
Sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
To serve
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
lemon wedges
parmesan, for grating
Tomato and Leek Sauce, see below
Tomato and Leek Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
sea salt
400-gram tin crushed Italian tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Whisk the milk and egg together in a large bowl then stir in all the remaining ingredients, except the chicken sausages, and leave for 5 minutes to soften the crumbs.

Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and add to the bowl. Season and mix until well combined.

Topping: Combine everything in a bowl and set aside.

Using a tablespoon, roughly scoop the chicken mixture into 16 meatballs, leaving them roughly shaped. Place on a lined baking tray and dab over the topping using a pastry brush.

Bake for 20 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked through and golden on top.

To serve: Place the meatballs in a serving dish with the red onion and lemon wedges then top with a generous grating of parmesan. Serve the tomato sauce separately.

Cook's note: We garnished the meatballs with stems of parsley that were fried in a little hot oil until crisp then drained on kitchen towels.

Tomato and Leek Sauce: Heat the oil and cook the leek, garlic and fennel seeds with a pinch of salt until soft. Add the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce and cook until thick and reduced. Makes 1½ cups