Koftas are essentially meatballs or dumplings that are of Middle Eastern and South Asian origin. I love making any type of meatballs, so I jumped at the chance to make this when I read the recipe in an old cookbook I had from several years ago, called The Ultimate Chicken Cookbook. I had tried many of the recipes in this book before but I couldn't believe I had missed this one. The meatballs have a nice earthy smokey undertone to it from the spices added in. It is really a great twist to the traditional spaghetti and meatballs dish. I'm going to have to make this one for my mom and dad sometime.

Adapted and modified from the "Koftas in Tomato Sauce" recipe in The Ultimate Chicken Cookbook (1998) Written by: Linda Fraser

Serves 4

  • 1-1/2 lb chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp each: ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • seasoned flour, for rolling the meatballs in
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 14-oz chopped tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1 cup orzo, cooked

1. Place the chicken breasts into a food processor and pulse it a few times, until the chicken looks is grounded up in texture. Make sure not to grind it up too fine. Place the chicken into a large bowl, then start to combine the grated onion, grated garlic, parsley, spices, egg, salt and pepper. Shape the chicken mixture into 1-1/2" balls, then roll them lightly on the seasoned flour.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottom skillet, on medium heat, and brown the meatballs in small batches. Then remove the browned meatballs onto a plate lined with paper towel. Note: you don't need to cook the chicken all the way through, as it will be cooked in the sauce later.

3. Sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Sprinkle in the flour, then whisk in the stock and tomatoes, along with their juices. Add in the sugar and the dried Italian herbs. Bring it up to a bubble, then add back in the chicken meatballs, cover and simmer for a good 10 minutes. Cook the orzo in the meantime. Follow package instructions. Once done serve it immediately.

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