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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Mezze maniche con ceci e pancetta

Mezze maniche con ceci e pancetta

Chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzos, have played a notable part in the Italian kitchen for hundreds of years. They are of Oriental origin and due to the fact that they require high temperatures during summer months, they are mainly grown in Southern Italy. When you use them in cooking, it is best to buy them canned. The commercial canning process doesn’t harm the flavor or diminish the nutritional value. You can also buy dry chickpeas and soak them yourself. In this case, make sure the chickpeas haven’t passed their use-by date, because the old ones won’t soften no matter how long they soak. Most chickpea recipes are actually winter recipes that require long cooking times. These dishes were ideal in the olden times when a pot simmering on a wood-fired stove kept the entire kitchen warm. If you are a true fan, also try Ligurian polenta-like panissa; or minestrone di ceci which is a creamy, hearty chickpea soup from the Abruzzo; or stewed chickpeas like in ceci in umido. Don’t forget about ceci alla pisana a.k.a. chick peas with greens and anchovies from Pisa, or cavezune which is ravioli from the Gargano peninsula made with a chocolaty chickpea filling.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2-4 dry chilies, deseeded and finely chopped

olive oil

200 gr/ 7 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes (optional)

500 gr/ 17 oz passata di pomodoro

350 gr/ 12 1/3 oz chickpeas

1 l/ 4 1/3 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

fresh flat leaf parsley

mezze maniche pasta

Mezze maniche con ceci e pancetta

Instructions:

Puree the onion, garlic and chili in a blender until smooth. Heat olive oil in a pan and fry this smooth mix for a couple of minutes. Add the pancetta and continue for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the passata di pomodoro and cook for another 5 minutes on a medium heat. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and cook still for further 5 minutes.

Like when cooking risotto, add some vegetable broth at a time letting the sauce simmer down and thicken for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with boiling salted water. Drain the pasta and mix it with the ready sauce. Garnish each plate with some fresh flat leaf parsley. Serve immediately.

Mezzi rigatoni con crema di ceci

Mezzi rigatoni con crema di ceci

Tuscans love chickpeas, ceci, so much so that in the coastal areas of Livorno and Pisa a chickpea flour cake has been named boldly as ‘gold of Pisa’. But this protein bomb is a good source of zinc and folate and can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream. It is also one of the earliest cultivated pods, and in the Middle East they have found remains that were 7500 years old. By the Bronze Age chickpeas were already known in Italy. The ancient Romans found some good use for them and roasted them as a snack or cooked them into a broth. This creamy pasta dish mixes the subtle characteristic taste of the chickpeas with tomato and fresh rosemary. You get the best results by serving it with short hollow pasta.

Ingredients: 

2 cans (à 265 gr/9 1/3 oz) chickpeas

olive oil for frying

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

120 gr/4 1/3 oz bacon, sliced (optional)

1 can peeled tomatoes

fresh rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

mezzi rigatoni or other hollow pasta

Mezzi rigatoni con crema di ceci

Puree 1 can of chickpeas 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 bacon slices and continue frying. Add the pureed chickpeas and mix well with the onion and garlic, then add the peeled tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add water if necessary. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and mix it with the chickpea sauce. Garnish each plate with fresh rosemary and serve immediately.