Chicken and Fennel Meatballs with Salsa Verde

2011 Jul/Aug

These are also delicious simmered in a simple tomato sauce seasoned with smoked paprika and sherry vinegar.



  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 2 t. fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 t. ground black pepper
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped bacon
  • 1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 c. Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T. white wine
  • 2 eggs

Salsa verde:

  • 1 can tomatillos (available in Mexican groceries and specialty food stores)
  • 2 – 3 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil to drizzle


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Drizzle a medium casserole dish with olive oil. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until they are just combined, making sure not to over mix. The mixture should feel slightly tacky and wet. Pinch off a small piece, flatten it out and cook it in the oven. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the mixture accordingly.

Form the mixture into 1-1/2-inch balls and place them in the prepared casserole dish. Bake the meatballs, rotating the dish halfway through cooking, for about 20 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa verde. In a blender, purée the tomatillos, then add the chiles, cilantro and salt and continue to blend until the cilantro is finely chopped but not completely puréed. Transfer the meatballs to a sauté pan, pour the salsa verde over them and warm through. Serve drizzled with olive oil. Serves 6.