Everyone has their own family meatball recipe but this one is a little different because I’ve given these chicken meatballs the flavor of Italian sausage. Chicken is a lot leaner than pork so we are going to cut some fat there, and that’s a good thing. Whenever I make meatballs I almost always make a double batch. It’s really just as easy to double the recipe if you’re going to make them. You can easily freeze the cooked meatballs and then you’ll have them ready to add to any future recipe.
Kale, another superfood, is packed full of vitamins. I feel really good about my Kale Stew With Chicken Meatballs, I just might even have a piece of crusty bread for dipping, Oh yeah!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 30 meatballs
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, cookie-dough scoop, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, chef’s knife
Note: Use half the meatballs for this recipe. After the meatballs are cooked allow half of them (15 meatballs) to come to room temperature. Place into a resealable zip-lock bag and transfer to the freezer.
Ingredients For Chicken Meatballs:
3 pounds of ground chicken
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 7-ounce container of store-bought fresh basil pesto (use 1/4 cup for this recipe)
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
3 cloves of garlic, freshly
2 tablespoons of Ketchup
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (reserve the rind)
2 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Ingredients For the Stew:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced (1/4-inch dice)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (1/4-inch chunks)
2 (14.5)-ounce cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 pints of mushrooms, quartered
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
1 reserved cheese rind, cut in half
1 (9-ounce) box of (Birds Eye) frozen whole artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
2 bunches of organic kale, chopped (8 to 10 cups)
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
Directions For Chicken Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper, of each pan, with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl and add all the ingredients (except the ground chicken) for the meatballs. Once everything is in the bowl mix to combine. You want the flavorings to have the consistency of wet sand. Next, add the ground meat to the bowl. Using a fork, evenly distribute the flavorings throughout the ground chicken. It may take a few minutes but it’s so worth it for your meatballs to be light and tender.
Using a cookie-dough scoop ensures the meatballs will be the same size. Scoop the meat mixture into your hands forming a ball. Continue until all the meatball mixture is finished.
Arrange the meatballs onto two baking sheet pans with space between each one. Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray to ensure they will brown evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
In the meantime prep the *Mirepoix for the soup. Dice the carrots, celery, and onions. Finish by mincing the garlic. Next, dice the potatoes and quarter the mushrooms. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Set aside.
In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add olive oil, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir until the onions start to soften. Add the diced carrots, mushrooms, Stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms release their liquid and the carrots begin to soften 12 to 14 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook for 1 minute more.
Add the diced potatoes, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Add both cans of fire-roasted tomatoes and sugar, again stir to combine.
Remove the meatballs from the oven. Gently transfer them into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cheese rind, stir gently.
Still, over medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 35 to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes add thawed artichokes and chopped kale. The kale may need to be added in stages allowing it to wilt down into the liquid. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
In a small bowl add cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water, mix until smooth and paste-like. Slowly add the cornstarch *slurry into the pot and stir gently so as not to break the meatballs. Again continue to cook until the broth thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with a piece of crusty bread and you will be in heaven.
There you have it, my Kale Stew With Chicken Meatballs
*Cornstarch Slurry: A slurry is a mixture of a cold liquid with cornstarch, also known as a cornstarch slurry. It’s used as a thickening agent. A typical cornstarch slurry will consist of 2 parts cold water and 1 part cornstarch. A slurry can also be made using equal parts of flour and water.