It’s hard to believe it’s been just over a week since Thanksgiving, and there are barely more than two weeks until Christmas! With the holidays falling the way they have, we have just one weekend in December without any gatherings or family celebrations, and it was this past weekend. We took advantage of the downtime to do some cleaning and organizing around the house, and enjoy a few meals that didn’t consist of leftover turkey and stuffing, or ham and mashed potatoes. I had pulled some ground chicken out of the freezer to make these meatballs – but when I surveyed the contents of the fridge, I thought I’d try to come up with a new recipe… and it turned out mighty delicious, I must say!
Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Rosemary and Parmesan
1 pound ground chicken (a mix of white and dark meat is best)
1 T minced fresh rosemary
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T heavy cream
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup (or more) bread crumbs (Italian seasoned or plain)
3/4 cup grated parmesan, divided
3 oz mozzarella, cut into small (1/2″) cubes (about 20)
1.) Preheat your oven to 325°. In a large bowl, add your rosemary, shallot, garlic, egg, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan. Whisk everything together well.
2.) Add the ground chicken to the bowl, and use your hands to combine everything well, being careful not to over-mix. Add the bread crumbs to the meat mixture, and combine – you want the mixture to remain very moist, but be able to hold its shape when rolled into a ball. You can add some more breadcrumbs if the mixture is still too wet after adding the 1/3 cup.
3.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Take a small handful of the meatball mixture, and press it into a flat round in your hand. Place a cube of mozzarella into the center, and gently fold the chicken around the cube. Use your hands to roll it into a neat ball, and place it on the baking sheet.
4.) Repeat with the remaining meat; I ended up with about 20 meatballs, that were roughly the size of golf balls, once they had the mozzarella in the middle. Sprinkle the meatballs with the remaining parmesan, and drizzle or spray a touch of olive oil on top of each one.
5.) Bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes, until they’re cooked through. There will likely be a few meatballs with some mozzarella oozing out (that’s why you lined the baking sheet), but that’s no big deal. You can finish them under the broiler to achieve a nice, brown crust!
These meatballs are gooey, cheesy, and delicious! The cracked black pepper and rosemary make them savory and herbacious – and who can resist a melty cheese center?? I served these meatballs with some simple lemon garlic green beans, which made for a quick but satisfying dinner. I also intend to use them in the future as appetizers – make them slightly smaller, pop them on to toothpicks, and serve with some marinara for dipping. They’d also be great on a meatball sub!