Chicken Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Kale served over Polenta

I was inspired to make this when I saw a recipe from Blue Apron turn up in my Facebook feed. I’ve tried them before, but really find it easier to do my own prep and recipes. Still, I’m always looking for new ideas. I make a lot of polenta in the winter. Everyone loves it, including the Rents, and with my Italian polenta pot, it’s super easy.

Yes, there’s a story to this polenta pot… I have always loved polenta, but I don’t love having to babysit it over the stove for 30-40 minutes, stirring the whole time. During one of my trips to Italy, I saw that my aunt had one of these polenta stirrers. Traditional polenta is made in a copper pot, and in Italy you can find these pots with the stirring attachment commonly sold in hardware stores. So of course I had to have one. Which meant I had to also buy a voltage converter since European current is 230v, compared to our 120. The hertz is also slightly different, which means that my contraption turns a bit slower on US current, but it has worked beautifully for the last 15 years. Of course you don’t need this to make polenta, but it sure is helpful!

Italian Copper Polenta Pot

I had made pork meatballs before, but never chicken. In the spirit of trying to be healthier and leaner in my over 50 years, I gave this a try. Altered from the recipe I found, since I never can seem to stick to a recipe…. I changed the filling in the meatballs, and added more tomato and kale. It was delicious, and came together in about 45 minutes. Served it with my Fennel and Apple Salad. We even had some leftovers!


  • 3/4 lb Ground Chicken
  • ½ onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ Cups Polenta
  • 1 28-Ounce Can Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 Bunch Dino Kale
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In a medium pot, heat 6 cups of water and a big pinch of salt to boiling on high.

Peel and chop the garlic. Wash the kale, remove and discard the stems and chop. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and crush with your hands.

When the water is boiling, make a whirlpool with a whisk and slowly pour in the polenta, stirring the whole time. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, 30 minutes, or until thickened and tender. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of parmigiano cheese until thoroughly combined.

While the polenta cooks, in a large bowl, grate the onion. Then add the breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, fennel, coriander, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of the cheese and half the garlic. Mix until combined, and then add the chicken, mixing until it just comes together. Don’t over mix, or your meatballs will be tough. Using your hands, form the mixture into 12 to 14 equal-sized meatballs.

In a large nonstick pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned on all sides.

Add the remaining garlic to the pan of meatballs and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the kale and let it wilt into the sauce. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the polenta is done. Turn down and add a bit of water if the sauce starts getting too thick.

Serve the meatballs with sauce over the polenta.


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  1. Pingback: My Mom is a Genius! – dinner with the rents

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