Spicy Chicken Balls

Spicy Chicken Balls

If you are looking for something new, this recipe with minced chicken could easily become your next favorite. It works equally well as a main course with salad and potatoes, and as a delightful party snack. The chickpeas add taste and consistency, and the hot and spicy condiment, sambal oelek, brings added value. Chicken is actually the most common type of poultry in the world, and as a very versatile food it can be grilled, baked, roasted, deep-fried, breaded, skewered, or made into sausages. Chicken consumption rose during World War II due to a shortage of beef and pork, and it rose again in the 1990’s because of consumer awareness of risks associated with beef. When it comes to the nutritional value, the meat itself contains very little fat, because the fat is concentrated on the skin. When measured as weight percentage, chicken meat contains about two to three times as much polyunsaturated fat than most types of red meat.

Ingredients: 

400 g/ 14 oz chicken mince

1 can pre-cooked chickpeas

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp paprika powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp tomato puree

1-2 tsp sambal oelek chili paste

1 egg

Instructions: 

Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and puree them together with the minced chicken in a blender or a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the paprika powder and season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture cool down.

Add the sauteed onion and garlic into the chicken and chickpea mix and puree until the mixture is smooth. Combine with the pureed tomato and the sambal oelek paste. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Roll the mixture into balls (diameter 1.5 inch/ca. 4 cm). Fry the balls in a saucepan over a medium heat on all sides for about 5 minutes until they are golden. Turn occasionally. Remove all excess oil by placing them over a paper towel. Serve immediately with a refreshing salad and/or potatoes.

Spicy Chicken Balls

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Pollo agli aromi

Pollo agli aromi

You might know sage as a part of the typical sage and onion stuffing for chicken, but this herb, part of the mint family, is highly aromatic and has a myriad of culinary uses. The leaves have a lemony, slightly bitter fragrance, and the aroma is savoury and peppery, reminiscent of satisfying home made comfort food. In Italy sage is used with many grilled or roasted meats, like poultry, pork, veal, and lamb. It goes well together with gnocchi, several risottos, soups, marinades and aromatic oils, too. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, sage can be used for teas, body products and different kinds of home remedies from indigestion to headache. In ancient times sage has been used for warding off evil, snakebites, and increasing women’s fertility. This highly regarded herb was even believed to give you longevity. Here, the sage plays an integral part in the cooking process and the dish is rounded off with a splash of white wine vinegar.

Ingredients:

4 chicken legs

1 onion

a handful of sage leaves

1.5 dl/ 2/3 cup dry white wine

2-4 garlic cloves, halved

a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and the sage leaves for a few minutes until the onion becomes golden. Add the chicken legs and season with salt and pepper. Once the chicken legs have colored a bit, for ca. 10 minutes, add the dry white wine.

Continue frying over a medium heat. If needed, add some chicken stock to avoid burning. After about 1 hour, when the chicken is cooked through, add the fresh rosemary sprigs, halved garlic cloves, and the vinegar. Fry over a very high heat for a few minutes and serve immediately.

Pollo agli aromi

Cannelloni

Cannelloni

Cannelloni  – large tubes stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese and baked in a tomato or cream sauce – is one of the most iconic Italian recipes. Originally from the Emilia Romagna region, this dish is prepared all over Italy and beyond. This particular recipe with minced beef, chicken and pork is one of the most traditional ways to prepare this delicate and delicious first course meal, but there are endless variation options. Cannelloni can be prepared for example with spinach and ricotta, or with more adventurous fillings, like shrimp and cream. You can also prepare it in advance, and just pop it into the oven when you’re ready to eat. Cannelloni can be stored in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container, for about 2-3 days. Serve cannelloni with a refreshing salad, and make sure you enjoy the taste of every single bite – it tastes like summer’s first peach.

Ingredients:

Filling:

2 Italian pork sausages, casing removed

1 chicken fillet

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parma ham

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parmigiano

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

200 gr/ 7 oz minced beef

1 egg

Pasta:

300 gr/ 10.5 oz flour

3 large eggs

(alternatively, ready-made cannelloni)

Béchamel sauce:

5 dl/ 2 cups fresh milk

40 gr/ 1 1/3 butter

30 gr/ 1 oz flour

freshly ground nutmeg

salt to taste

25 gr/ 2/3 oz grated Parmigiano

Tomato sauce: 

olive oil

salt to taste

fresh basil leaves

300 gr/ 10.5 oz passata di pomodoro

On top:

Parmigiano

Cannelloni

Instructions: 

Start with the pasta. Put the flour in a large bowl, make a hole in the middle where you place the eggs. Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, saute the onion until it becomes golden and add the minced beef, sausage, Parma ham and the minced chicken. Continue frying for a few minutes, stir occasionally, and season with salt and pepper. If the pieces are too big, you can grind them in a mixer or a food processor. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool down before adding the eggs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Knead with your hands. At this point the mixture should be fairly dry.

Prepare the tomato sauce by heating olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and the passata di pomodoro. Cook for ca. 10-15 minutes over medium heat, then take the pan from the heat and add the fresh basil leaves. Prepare the Béchamel sauce.

Cut the already prepared pasta sheet into 10 rectangular sheets. Boil the sheets in salted water for about 3-4 minutes, and drain. Let them rest on a clean cloth.

Put some of the filling into the center of each pasta sheet, then roll them shut. Place the rolls into a baking dish and pour some tomato sauce over. Once you have filled all the rolls, pour the Béchamel sauce over, then add a few tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce. Finish by sprinkling Parmigiano. Bake the cannelloni in the oven, preheated to 180C/355F, for about 40 minutes. Let the cannelloni rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Cannelloni

Pollo alla cacciatora

Parsley (petroselinum sativum) is one of the most nutritious herbs. A cup of parsley contains more beta carotene than a carrot, almost twice the vitamin C of an orange, more calcium than a cup of milk, and twenty times more iron than a serving of liver. In ancient Rome people ate fresh parsley as a freshener to mask the smells of strongly flavored foods and alcohol. There are basically two main types of parsley, the tightly curled variety and the flat leaf type, and only the latter is used in the Italian cuisine. You can find flat leaf parsley in virtually every dish, because it is used as an edible and tasty garnish, but it can give flavor to soups, sauces, stews, and salads. Parsley should always be used fresh, as the dried herb loses much of its flavor.

Pollo alla cacciatora

Ingredients: 

olive oil

6-8 chicken thighs

100 gr/ 3.5 oz pancetta, in cubes

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 carrots, sliced

1 celery stalk, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

fresh rosemary

2.5 dl/ 1 cup red wine, like Chianti or Chianti Classico

2 cans of chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

3-5 dry chilies

1 tsp sugar

fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions: 

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken thighs from both sides for about 10 minutes until they become golden. Add the pancetta cubes, chopped onion, minced garlic and the chopped carrot and celery. Season with salt and pepper, and rosemary. Continue sauteing for another 5-10 minutes. Pour the red wine over the chicken pieces and let it evaporate. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Season with bay leaves, dry chilies and sugar, and let the mixture simmer on a low heat for at least 30-40 minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through.  Keep stirring every now and then, and add water, if necessary. Serve the sauce hot with polenta or mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh parsley.

Pollo alla cacciatora

Spiedini

new thingnew thing

While we anxiously await the start of the spring and summer season, we can already enjoy some of the fresh produce of the upcoming period. These grill sticks – spiedini in Italian – are delicious and fast to prepare, and fresh vegetables, like zucchini, bell pepper, eggplant and mushrooms are excellent options for grilling. Chicken and pork are the best meats, but because of chicken’s somewhat dry nature, it is best to wrap it in pancetta first. Vegetarians can replace the meat with tofu for equally yummy results.

Ingredients: 

2 chicken fillet, cut into cubes

100 gr/ 3.5 oz pancetta

1 zucchini

200 gr/ 7 oz mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

Instructions: 

Cut the chicken fillets into cubes and slice the zucchini and the mushrooms. Wrap a piece of pancetta around each chicken cube. Arrange the sliced vegetables and the wrapped chicken cubes on the grill sticks. Fry them on a low heat until the chicken is tender and the vegetables have softened and released their juices. Serve with Italian bread, like schiacciata.

Pollo con peperoni

Pollo con peperoni

Traditionally a full Italian meal is comprised of eight different and equally important parts. Naturally you can always have just one course, but if you are preparing a festive traditional meal, take the following into account: Aperitivo is an appetizer that opens the meal. Antipasto, a warm or cold starter, can be anything from cold cuts to vegetables, or a slice of warm bread like bruschetta. Primo is the first course and offers thousands of variation options. Use your imagination and delve into the rich Italian food culture to prepare a pasta, risotto, polenta, gnocchi, or a soup. Secondo or piatto principale is the heaviest dish, usually either fish, meat or chicken, and it is served with contorno, a side dish. Formaggi e frutta is a delight for all cheese and fruit lovers, which is succeeded by dolce – some cake or ice-cream. Cafe is drunk after the dessert, not with it, and traditionally all the milky variations are only consumed in the morning. Digestivo, like grappa or limoncello, concludes the meal and helps with the digestion process after a long meal. The following light and easy recipe falls into the category secondo.

Ingredients: 

2 boneless chicken breasts

olive oil

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

fresh rosemary

salt

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a pan and start frying the boneless chicken fillets. Fry the meat over a medium heat and add the minced garlic cloves once the chicken has colored a bit. Add the sliced zucchini and bell peppers and continue frying. The vegetables will release their juices, so you don’t need to add water or any stock. Season with salt and fresh rosemary and make sure the chicken is cooked through. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the chicken and the vegetables, and you are ready to serve.

Pollo con peperoni

 

Paella

Paella

Paella, a rice dish similar to risotto, originates from Valencia on the Spanish east coast. Contrary to a popular belief, it is not a Spanish national dish, but rather a Valancian fare deeply rooted in its regional culture. There are three different types of paella: paella valenciana with rice, chicken, rabbit and beans, paella de marisco with rice and seafood without green vegetables, and paella mixta with a combination of meat and sea food together with a variety of vegetables. Paella’s popularity spread in the 20th century and the dish acquired influences from other food cultures outside Spain. Now a mixed paella can include a wide variety of ingredients, such as meat, sausage, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. The mixed paella and its numerous variations remains very popular all over the world, although in Valencia, only the Valencian and the sea food paella are considered authentic. This particular paella mixes the grill taste of the chicken drumsticks with the refined sea food taste and the yummy vegetables. If you have leftovers, serve them cold the next day. Paella’s taste doesn’t improve by reheating it.

PaellaIngredients:

4-6 chicken drumsticks

125 gr/ 4.5 oz bacon

olive oil for frying

3 dl/ 1 1/3 risotto rice

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

5 dl/2 cups chicken stock

3-5 tomatoes

white pepper

paprika powder

3-4 bay leaves

1 red bell pepper

200 gr/ 7 oz peas

140 gr/ 5 oz large cooked and peeled shrimp

200 gr/ 7 oz mussels

freshly ground lemon pepper

fresh lemon, in slices

Instructions: 

Fry the chicken drumsticks slowly in oil and bacon. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the rice grains become glassy. Add the sliced onion and minced garlic, mix well, and continue frying until the onion softens. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer on a low heat and season with white pepper, paprika powder, and bay leaves. Once the chicken is cooked through, and the rice is cooked al dente, add the bell pepper and the peas, and at the end the already cooked shrimp and the mussels. Check the taste and garnish with slices of fresh lemon. Serve immediately.

Paella