Chicken Meatballs(Chiftelute)....My nephew and nieces are coming for a visit, so I decided to make these meatballs for them. The kids only have these meatballs at Grandma's house...I know they won't be the same. That's because my mom always had a pinch of her love added to it, which makes it all the more harder to replicate. This recipe comes from my wonderful mom, who lovingly made these for us while growing up. We devoured them...and still do! A long time ago, my mom used to make them using beef, but she later changed them to chicken. It was a hit!... and she never went back to using beef again. Seasonings and amounts are my additions. This is my attempt at copying her recipe.
These are Romanian meatballs, so don't expect them to be like the American version. They are good though! Kids love them! You can stuff them in pita bread and pour some yoghurt sauce or eat them as an appetizer dipped in your favorite sauce. My mom would also cook them in a tomato based sauce(chiftelute marinate) that was delicious over mashed potatoes/rice/pasta. But, here is my version...
I usually grind my meat. But, feel free to use store bought ground chicken. I have used turkey meat, with different results though,... yet, still delicious.
You will need:this will give you about 50 golf size meatballs...not perfectly round.
3 lbs chicken thigh meat(dark meat),ground
2 tsps onion powder
1/4 cup grated onion
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 TBS kosher salt, or to taste
2 tsps dried parsley(or 3 tsps fresh)
2 slices white bread*
3 TBS milk, or enough to soak bread
2 large eggs
Some flour (for dusting/rolling the meatballs)
oil for frying
* feel free to use some mashed potato instead for a gluten-free option
Grind meat (I used dark thigh meat) and set aside in a large bowl.
Let the bread soak up the milk and mix it to get a paste like consistency. Now, I have also used dry breadcrumbs as well and skipped the milk(because I didn't have any on hand) and they still came out. But, I prefer the sliced bread option, so that is why I used it in this post. I am just giving you an alternative. Set aside. To the ground chicken meat, add seasoning, parsley, grated onion, and garlic.
Mix completely using your hands or a heavy spoon. I usually let the mixture sit for a while in the fridge while I clean up....this helps the meat to firm up a bit.
In a small bowl add some flour( oh, I'd say about 1 cup...you can always add some later if you need extra). Take about a tablespoon size chunk of the meat mixture and place it in the flour roll it around and shape into a ball using floured hands....try not to compact the mixture too much. Just lightly roll it in a ball.
Place on a plate or a cookie sheet( I like to place a wax piece of paper on it before). Your hands will get sticky...just wash and flour them again. Continue making all the meatballs.
I like to fry the meatballs using a large pot so this way the oil splattering will be minimized. You can use a skillet , if you prefer. My mom always used a skillet. Pour enough oil to about 1 inch....you can pour some more if you like. Dust off excess flour from the meatballs before placing them in the oil. You will notice that as the meatballs sit on the wax paper, they will probably absorb some of the flour. They might stick...just lift them up using a flat spatula and they will be ok....if need be, roll the meatballs into a bit more flour and dust off the excess flour.
Place meatballs in the hot oil and fry until golden . Turn them over and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with spicy ketchup or any sauce you like. Stuff them in pita bread with some yoghurt sauce. Mix them with same marinara sauce...etc. They freeze very well....just reheat in the toaster oven at 450 until hot.