I’ve been accused of only posting decadent diet-busting recipes on my site. Harsh…I know cream cheese streusel coffee cakes, pork-on-pork roasts, and nutella cream filling aren’t for everyday eating. They’re treats. Believe me, I’m eating plenty of really boring healthy meals between those posts.
Here’s a recipe that proves I’m not a total glutton and that simple, healthy foods can be blog-worthy. It is a chicken consommé with baked chicken-olive meatballs and strands of Swiss chard. Perfect; I’m calling it consommé so it sounds all French and elegant, it’ll be healthy because there’s a bunch of barely wilted chard in it, satisfying enough for dinner because there will be half a dozen meatballs bobbing around in each bowl.
Just a few star ingredients: ruffled leaves of chard, shiny Kalamata olives, parsley, grated Parmesan, shallot. We’ll need ground chicken, breadcrumbs, couple eggs, lemon, and chicken stock, as well.
Let’s start with the consommé. All it is is intensified, clarified chicken broth. Yum. Homemade broth is essential. Simmer the broth, toss in some extra aromatics, a little ground chicken, and egg whites. Seems a bit strange, but I recall seeing Jacques Pepin doing just this on PBS so it must be okay. The chicken and the egg rise to the top and pull out all the impurities, leaving behind a clear consommé with extra chicken-y flavor.
While the consomme clarifies, mix the ground chicken with all the goodies- olives, grated Parmesan, parsley, lemon, and shallots. Toss in some breadcrumbs and egg yolks and you’re ready to roll.
Roll the meatballs as small as your patience will allow. Mine allows for two-bite meatballs. You’ll have my admiration (and a more beautiful bowl of soup) if you can tolerate sticky hands long enough to make cute, tiny spoon-able meatballs.
Pop the meatballs into the oven, shred some chard, strain the consommé. Put it all together, dinner is ready. Good-for-you, warm, and comforting. What a beautiful bowl.
- 8 c. Chicken Stock, preferably homemade
- 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 stalk Celery, roughly chopped
- 1 medium Onion, roughly chopped
- Handful Fresh Parsley
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 8 Whole Black Peppercorns
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 1lb. Ground Chicken, divided
- 2 Eggs, separated
- ½ c. Breadcrumbs
- ½ c. Milk
- ¼ c. Grated Parmesan
- ¼ c. Kalamata Olives, chopped
- 1 medium Shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- 4 leaves Swiss Chard, center stalk removed and thinly sliced
- additional Parmesan, for sprinkling
- In a large pot, bring chicken stock to boil along with roughly chopped carrot, celery, onion, handful of parsley, bay leaf, whole peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Add a quarter of the ground chicken and the egg whites and simmer 45 minutes to one hour, until the consommé is flavorful and clear.
- Preheat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, soak breadcrumbs in milk until soft. Squeeze breadcrumbs, discard the milk.
- In a medium bowl, combine remaining ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg yolks, ¼ c. grated parmesan, olives, shallot, chopped parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix well and roll into small meatballs, 1 inch or smaller.
- Place meatballs on parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired (this will give them nicer color). Bake 15-20 minute, depending on their size.
- While the meatballs bake, strain the consommé and discard solids. Reheat and season as needed.
- Divide meatballs between warm soup bowls, place a handful of sliced chard in the center of each bowl, and ladle consommé over the top. Garnish with additional grated parmesan, if desired.