I rarely buy ground chicken, opting for ground turkey instead, but this time I followed the recipe exactly as designed by Giada in a recent show on FoodTV.  The chicken meatballs can be  prepared many hours in advance and kept in the fridge, uncooked. Or you can cook them, make the sauce, and re-heat everything together when you want to serve  dinner.  The mushroom sauce is a perfect complement, all that’s needed is a starchy side to soak it all up.  On her show, she suggested egg noodles.  I went with a golden cauliflower puree and green beans. Now, on a tangent, can I share a little pet peeve of mine? I get a bit irritated when people use “compliment” when they actually mean “complement”. I know, English is not my first language, who am I to point the finger, when I make mistakes on a daily basis?  But still…  the compliment thing annoys me to no end.  A compliment is a flattering remark, a complement complements. The mushrooms are not having a conversation with the meatballs saying “wow, you look gorgeous today!”…  Ok, stepping off my soap box. Back to cooking.😉

Pork Meatballs

(slightly modified from Giada de Laurentiis)

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons almond milk, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
1 pound ground white meat chicken
1/4 cup grated pecorino, plus extra for serving
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon cepes powder (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 cup chicken broth (slightly more if sauce seems too thick)

In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, almond milk and 1 tablespoon Marsala. Leave it soaking for 5 minutes.  Add the chicken, pecorino, egg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Gently mix together the ingredients until just combined. Form the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the meatballs are beginning to brown and are just barely cooked through. Flip them around and broil the other side for a few more minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a straight-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms are brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots, the cepes powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the 1/3 cup Marsala and stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer for a few minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to let the flavors blend, under very low heat.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  We both loved this meal!  One of the important tips for success is handling the meatballs as softly as possible. Wet your hands if you prefer, form the balls and do not pack them tightly, or you might compromise the texture.  I used regular mushrooms, but cremini or a mixture or wild mushrooms could be great.  Of course, having that special cepes powder to splurge only added a touch of sophistication to the meal.  A little bit goes a long way, the smell is terrific!  I know that it is a very unique ingredient I was lucky to receive as a gift, but even without it this will be a delicious meal.


I was pleasantly surprised by how well the yellow color of the golden cauliflower was preserved during cooking and mashing.  Shockingly yellow, like a burst of sun in the middle of the plate…

ONE YEAR AGO: PCR and a Dance in the Mind Field

TWO YEARS AGO: October 16th: World Bread Day!

THREE YEARS AGO: San Francisco Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO:  A Real Oscar Winner   (Oscar joins our home!)

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pane Siciliano


  1. That looks delicious but I am really here to say how much I agree with you about the compliment/complement thing!
    Just don’t get me started on apostrophes!


    • Glad to see we are on the same page… apostrophes kill me too! Again, I know I make mistakes, but if you are going to write something, please, try not to butcher the language! right?


  2. Haha the compliment complement thing is one of my pet peeves as well! I totally get it. This is total comfort food! The meatballs are so much more fun than just chicken cutlets.


    • I kind of suspected you would have the same pet peeve… I swear, the other day Phil got an email from a well respected scientist and the guy used complement instead of compliment. Thank you for complementing me on the article… can you imagine that? Ok, maybe it was a typo… I’ll grant him that, and one that spell checker would not get. But you know what? I doubt it. It is too prevalent a mistake and too many people confuse those. Did I say I was going to step out of my soap box? sorry, I went back.


  3. May I pay you a compliment on the lovely meatballs? It’s a great adaptation of the usual Chicken Marsala dish and I bet you could make a pot full of these meatballs and sauce and they won’t dry out the way the fussier thin cuts of chicken cutlet would. Great for an elegant family brunch.


  4. Too funny! I’m also quite ‘sensitive’ to mistakes too, but you’ve caught me guilty. And I do thank you, lesson well learned. I have to smile, in that I didn’t follow my own tip, ‘if you need to ask, chances are there is something to watch for’. Just yesterday I was doing a quick response on FB to a niece about choosing a tree to complement another one. I did check with both my son and husband about whether there were two words and both assured me they were one and the same. Lazy on my part, but I even remember really looking at the word, I used compliment, because with a critical eye you can often trust to ‘see’ the right way, not this time.


  5. Weirder yet, I just happily informed my husband of our mistake and he confidently stated ‘of course there’s two’, and gives me a quick lesson. When I asked why he didn’t know that yesterday, “I wasn’t really thinking”. I think it’s too often the case of I’m correcting him. He started a blog several years ago, and my goodness, teaching those apostrophes, the theirs/there’s/they’re, the to/too, it’s/its is so terribly difficult to an adult, so set in their ways. They really need to get those early on, or actually just care about it.


    • That is a wonderful little tale on typos and marital bliss! 😉 I am always at a disadvantage with English but get my share of revenge when Phil tries to speak or write in Portuguese… he makes THE cutest mistakes

      well, great to have that compliment complement thing taken care of! 😉


  6. These meatballs look fantastic! The mushroom sauce complements them well, I’m sure😉. Haha, the compliment/complement thing bugs me as well, but majored in English, so there are a number of things out there that bother me.


    • Oh, ground veal will be delicious here too! Go for it! I am sure the sauce will complement veal meatballs just as well ; you shall be getting compliments from the whole family! 😉


  7. I remember the cepes powder and it does sound like a heavenly addition. I am forever confusing masala (the herb) with marsala (the wine)😉. These sound like delightful meatballs Sally and your gravy/sauce has me swooning at 8 am. Ground chicken/turkey makes a regular appearance in our home and this recipe would be a delicious way to spruce it up!


    • Ha! Now you got me all confused too – I bet on my next post using wine I’ll write Masala wine in your honor! 😉 By the way, I am making your pork tenderloin braised in soy, star anise, and cinnamon for dinner tonight. Smells wonderful as it simmers, it’s driving me insane


  8. Fabulous. In spite that the recipe comes from Giada. Why do I hate her so??!!!! No idea. I was originally an English major, along with another commenter, so I’m a freak about such grammatic mistakes as well!!!


    • I make Giada’s recipes quite often, rarely have a problem with them – many of the personalities of FoodTV can be annoying or irritating on some level. Giada is pretty harmless for me, compared to some others, but I know she gets her share of criticism from many people. Not sure why, though. She is perky but not excessively so, I don’t think. Oh, well – the meatballs were delicious 😉


  9. I don’t think I’ve ever bought ground chicken either, Sally. Then again, I rarely buy any meat ground, unless there’s no choice. I much prefer grinding it myself. Preparing chicken meatballs as you would chicken Marsala is a great idea. As good as your cauliflower puree sounds, I’d opt for the noodles. (Big surprise, eh?) Now you’ve got me wondering if Cepes Powder is available around here. The hunt begins …🙂


    • Oh, John you are such a great cook! I cannot picture myself grinding my own meat (or flour), making my own yogurt or ricotta – at least not on a regular basis. On special occasions maybe, but that’s about it. And of course, I don’t have a meat grinder – my Mom used to have one when I was growing up, the thing would be worthy of a Medieval museum, I can still visualize it – one would get toned biceps from using it 😉


  10. You know, I usually keep my pet peeves to myself, shaking my head as I go along…but, Sally, you come right out with it and I complement you for that!! 🙂 🙂
    I also would serve the meatballs with your choice of sides over the noodles. The whole dish looks healthy and full of flavor.


  11. These sound delicious Sally, especially the mushroom sauce. And the cauliflower does look like a happy sunshine! As for your pet peeve…I share that one with you for sure! I run across it all the time at work and it makes me nuts.😉


    • Isn’t that irritating? It bothers me so much that I have a hard time concentrating on whatever else the person is saying or writing… I know, it’s pretty shallow of me, but… pet peeves are pet peeves….

      (great to see you here!)


    • I loved it too… pretty nice take on a classic, and who doesn’t love meatballs? Ok, vegetarians do not. Let me re=phrase that: what omnivore in his/hers right mind would not love meatballs? 😉


  12. Pingback: Easy Quick Dinners for Two

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