As the weather cools, my mind turns to meatballs. There are so many ways to make them, but this one with chicken is a favourite. Sun-dried tomato paste, lemon zest and smoked paprika give them a big boost of flavour.
3 slices sourdough bread, torn into small bits (about 1 cup)
⅓ cup milk
3 bacon rashers, cut into 1cm pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1 kg minced chicken*
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1 tbsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ lemon zested
3 tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper
*Home-made mince always seems to taste better, so if you have a mincing attachment for your mixer, buy a kilo of skinless chicken thighs and make your own. I prefer to use free-range chicken, it usually doesn't cost too much more.
Preheat oven to 200C. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.
Cook bacon, onion and garlic in one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
Squeeze bread to remove excess milk then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, tomato paste, bacon mixture, bread, spices, zest and basil.
Grease a baking tray with the remaining oil, form eight large meatballs from the mixture and arrange in the tray, season with salt and pepper and bake until meatballs are brown and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve with fregolone and barberry salad.