This dish might be just the ticket the next time you're faced with the challenge of preparing chicken in a new way.
We found that the original recipe stipulates more meatballs per serving than one might like, so we suggest you form all the balls (38 to 40), then freeze half of them, uncooked, on a baking sheet until firm. Transfer to a resealable plastic food storage bag and freeze for up to 3 months. That way, the next time you make the dish, you'll have the chicken part all ready to go.
If you can't find ground chicken, buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs and process in a food processor until coarsely ground.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup whole or low-fat milk
- 1 2/3 cups fresh plain bread crumbs (from about 3 pieces of bread)
- 2 1/4 pounds ground chicken (see headnote)
- Leaves from 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus other tender herbs if you like
- 12 ounces dried spaghetti
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (may substitute half-and-half)
Combine 2 tablespoons of the oil, the curry powder and onion in a large skillet, preferably nonstick or cast-iron. Add a grind of pepper and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not browned. Remove from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onion to a bowl, leaving the oil in the skillet.
Combine half of the sauteed onion, the milk and the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground chicken, lots of salt and pepper to taste and the parsley. Mix thoroughly until it becomes a paste rather than lumpy. Use your hands to form the mixture into balls a little smaller than a ping-pong ball (38 to 40 of them).
Place the skillet over medium-high heat, then add as many balls as will fit in a single layer; they can be fairly close together. Working in batches, cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning, until the chicken meatballs are well browned all over. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil as needed. (Transfer the cooked balls to a plate while you cook subsequent batches; they do not have to be cooked through at this point.)
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Drain and hold in a colander.
Add the reserved sauteed onion and the cream to the skillet with the last batch of chicken meatballs and bring to a boil (still over medium-high heat). Taste and season, if necessary. Add any reserved balls to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and cook for 15 minutes; the sauce will have thickened and should coat all of the meatballs.
Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the drained spaghetti, and mix gently to coat evenly. Serve warm.
Adapted from "Chicken and Other Fowl," by John Torode (Firefly, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.