We all need a good meatball recipe in our lives, and these Chicken Marsala Meatballs are just the ticket. That might be the Italian in me speaking, but I’m sure non-Italians agree. I also think we all need a meal that we can make without a recipe. A recipe that we have down pat and could make blindfolded. Chicken Marsala is one of those recipes for me. It was one of the first things I learned to make when I started adulting. You can’t beat braised chicken in a sweet and savory wine sauce with mushrooms. Back in those early adulting years, I used cheap cooking marsala wine from the grocery store (I mean, I wasn’t even 21 yet, people). These days, I use authentic sweet Marsala wine. Marsala wine is a fortified, higher alcohol (the I used was 18% ABV) wine hailing from the Italian island of Sicily. Wine Folly recommends a simple entry-level marsala wine ($10-15) for cooking.
Instead of adding the mushrooms in the sauce with these Chicken Marsala Meatballs, I decided to put the mushrooms in the meatballs to bump up the flavor and keep them from drying out as mushrooms hold a ton a taste but a lot of water too. Plus, you can sneak in a vegetable. Non-mushroom lovers may be reluctant to see the mushrooms in the sauce, but now they won’t even know they are there! They’ll just taste the great flavor, and you can make them into mushroom lovers by telling them afterward there were mushrooms in the meatballs. I love tricking people into liking things they thought they hated. It’s so much fun.
These meatballs could be used as an entree or as an appetizer. With New Year’s Eve coming up, these would make the perfect party food for any potluck or gathering. The sauce sticks to the meatballs well, so you just have to plate them up and stick some toothpicks in them for easy serving.
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Chicken Marsala Meatballs
- 8 oz. cremini or baby bella mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
- 1 egg
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 3/4cup of marsala wine
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch or tapioca powder, as needed
- Chopped parsley, optional (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until coarsely chopped (it’s ok if the pieces aren’t uniform). Heat skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil, then the ground mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms until their liquid fully evaporated about 7-10 minutes. Turn off heat and set pan aside to cool slightly.
- Add ground chicken, egg, panko, parmesan, garlic/onion powder in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked, ground mushrooms and mix everything together until just combined. Set aside mushroom pan for making sauce. Roll into small meatballs (should yield about 30-35 meatballs).
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper. Bake meatballs for about 18-20 minutes or until meatballs cooked through.
- Meanwhile, reheat the pan used to cook mushrooms. Pour the Marsala wine into the pan and boil down for a few seconds to cook out some of the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a few minutes or until sauce is reduced – about 3-5 minutes. If sauce is needing thickening, mix the cornstarch (or tapioca powder) with just enough cold water to dissolve. Add to cornstarch slurry to sauce to thicken enough to coat meatballs. Add meatballs to skillet to coat. Garnish with chopped parsley (if using).