I have had so much fun with this recipe working with young chefs. I've learned when teaching kids how to cook, getting their hands messy is great fun. Part of the joy of cooking for them is forming the meatballs with their hands. If getting your hands messy is not your thing, I use a spring-loaded scoop to form the meatballs.
My recipe calls for using Italian chicken sausage for convenience because it is already seasoned. It makes a delicious meatball with just a few additional ingredients. You could use this recipe with a pasta, but I usually serve these as meatball sliders. Fun, and delicious.
Chicken Meatball Sliders
1 lb. Italian Chicken Sausage Links*
1 large egg
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons cream or half & half
3 tablespoons olive oil, for the baking dish
How to make it:
Make the Meatballs: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Swirl to coat evenly. Set aside.
1. Remove the sausage from the casing links. Place the ground chicken sausage into a large bowl, discard the casings. Add in the egg, chopped parsley, minced garlic, breadcrumbs and cream. Using a wooden spoon or a fork, gently mix all ingredients together until well combined.
2. Using a spring-loaded scoop, or just your hands, portion out the meat mixture forming into medium size meatballs, slightly larger than a golf ball. Place the meatballs into the prepared baking dish, lining them evenly in the pan, snugging them together. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the meatballs. You should have 12-14 meatballs.
3. Roast in the preheated oven for 22 minutes until golden brown. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan.
4. Warm the marina sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Add the cooked meatballs to the warmed sauce. Gently stir to coat the meatballs.
For the Sliders: Lightly toast each slider bun. Place one meatball onto the slider bun with a bit of extra sauce. Top with shredded cheese. Serve while hot.
* If using plain ground chicken, adjust the recipe for seasoning by adding 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon ground fennel.