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Today is National Meatball Day! With the way I love meatballs, this food holiday is deserving of a celebration. A Meatball Palooza if you will. I have so many meatball recipes to share (and several I’ve yet to create) that we’ll need days to properly honor those perfectly packaged bundles of love. I shall call this celebration March Meatball Madness and share a meatball recipe every day for the remainder of the month. We shall begin with Chicken Marsala Meatballs.

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Let me just put it to you straight. If you love Classic Chicken Marsala you’re going to love those flavors rolled into tender savory meatballs. I mean luuuuv them!!

In order to keep the meatballs soft and tender, I combine all the ingredients except the chicken first, then gently fold that mixture into the ground chicken. Overworking the meatballs can make them tough. Because ground chicken is quite soft and these meatballs were large (2″ diameter) I baked them at 400 degree F. for 15 minutes to firm them up a bit before pan browning them in butter and sage.

Earlier today when I passed a Chicken Marsala Meatball over the fence to Ms. Pat {share the love}, she gave me a lovely complement on my mushrooms. She said, “I don’t know how you do it but your mushrooms are always incredible.” The truth is I work a little harder for just that reason. If you take the time to pan brown your mushrooms in a single layer (remember Julia Child’s advice “never crowd the mushrooms”) they will caramelize and take on the most incredible texture. No mushy mushrooms here.

Once they’re browned on both sides, remove them from the pan and add them back near the end of preparation. I apply this method to most every recipe that incorporates mushrooms.

For the Marsala Pan Sauce, I add butter, shallot, and garlic to the pan and sauté until the shallot is soft. Then the Marsala wine is added and allowed to cook down until reduced by at least half.

Not all Marsala wine is created equally. During a trip to Sicily we were able to visit the wonderful coastal town of Marsala and sample several varieties, ranging from very sweet to a wonderful dry marsala that’s perfect for making Chicken Marsala. Below are a few pictures from our visit to Marsala.

Chiesa del Purgatorio

Good rich chicken stock is added with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once that comes to a simmer I dust it with a little arrowroot (for gluten free version) or flour to thicken it just a bit.

Then the mushrooms are returned to the pan along with a little cream and the browned meatballs. Let the meatballs gently simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes or so before serving.

I chose to serve these meatballs over spaghetti but they would be fabulous over egg noodles or cauliflower rice.

Every tender bite is bursting with hints of marsala and buttery sage. I am so in love with these Chicken Marsala Meatballs. I can’t wait for you to try them and let me know what you think!

All my best, Libby

Chicken Marsala Meatballs

Libby with Lemony Thyme
Every tender bite is bursting with hints of marsala and buttery sage.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Entree or Appetizer
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (or GF Panko)
  • 1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons cream
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley fine chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dry Marsala wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning

For the Marsala Pan Sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 ounces fresh button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh sage 8-10 leaves
  • 1 shallot fine diced, about 1/4 cup
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3/4 cup marsala wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons flour or arrowroot (for gluten free)
  • 2 Tablespoons cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

For Serving

  • 1 pound spaghetti prepared al dente
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

For the Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl combine breadcrumbs, romano cheese, egg, cream, parsley, marsala wine, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash. Fold mixture into ground chicken until just combined. Form into 12 meatballs, about 2 inches in diameter, place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

For the Marsala Pan Sauce

  • While meatballs are baking, pan brown mushrooms in batches using large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 Tbl. butter & 1 Tbl. olive oil, adding additional butter/olive oil with each batch. Once deep golden brown, remove mushrooms from pan and reserve. In same skillet over medium heat, melt 2 Tbl. butter with fresh sage leaves. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Remove sage leaves and reserve as edible garnish.
  • Remove meatballs from oven and add to skillet with sage butter; cook until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from pan and reserve.
  • Add shallot and garlic to pan and saute over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until shallot is tender. Return the mushrooms to pan, add marsala wine and simmer until reduced by at least half. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil then dust with flour/arrowroot whisking until slightly thickened. Stir in the cream, then return meatballs to sauce to heat through.

For Serving

  • Cook spaghetti al dente and divide into four bowls. Top each bowl with 3 meatballs, a generous serving of pan sauce and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

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