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Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs with Tomatoes and Chickpeas


Recipe by Claire Saffitz for Bon Appetit's Basically


6 tbsp: jarred harissa paste, such a mina, divided
1 large egg
½ cup: Panko breadcrumbs
6 oz: feta in brine plus ¼ cup brine, cheese crumbled, divided
⅔ cup: chopped parsley, divided
6 tbsp: olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, divided
1 tsp: kosher salt, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground chicken
1 pint: mixed cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1 15oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained


1. Place a rack in top of oven; preheat to 400º. Taste your harissa, If it is extremely spicy, cut quantities used in recipe in half (most kinds in the jar are fairly mild).

2. Using a fork, stir 1 egg into ½ cup panko, ¼ cup feta brine, half of crumbled feta, half of parsley, 4 tbsp. harissa, and 2 tbsp. oil in a large bowl until egg is blended and mixture looks homogenous.

3. Finely grate 2 garlic cloves into bowl, then add 1 tsp. salt and several cranks of black pepper. Be pretty generous here; 10 cranks wouldn't be too much! Stir again with a fork.

4. Add chicken and work with clean hands until chicken is totally intermingled with panko mixture. Work it enough so that you don't see big distinct pieces of meat, but then stop. Overworking could lead to crumbly meatballs. The mixture will feel very soft and wet and look a bit shiny.

5. Pour tomatoes and chickpeas into the center of a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 tbsp. oil and remaining 2 tbsp. harissa. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Using clean hands or a small spatula, toss everything together right on sheet until chickpeas and tomatoes are evenly coated. Next you're going to form the meatballs. but don't wash your hands if you used them - the coating of oil will prevent them from sticking to your palms.

6. Roll chicken mixture gently and loosely between your palms into about 16 golf ball-sized balls (it's okay if the balls are not perfectly round; just try to make them about the same size). Place on baking sheet, tucking them in and around chickpeas and tomatoes and spacing evenly apart.

7. Bake meatballs on top rack until about halfway cooked through, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and take a look. The tomatoes should be starting to soften and burst, and the meatballs should look opaque and feel a bit springy to the touch. If not, then bake a few minutes longer.

8. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 oz.feta, parsley, and 2 tbsp. oil in a small bowl, then grate in remaining garlic clove. Toss with a fork to distribute. Turn on broiler (to high if your broiler has settings).

9. Place baking sheet back on top rack if your broiler is on the top of the oven, otherwise just slide it in. Broil meatballs, rotating tray once or twice if they're browning unevenly, until browned and fully cooked through, some tomatoes are lightly charred, and some chickpeas are crisp, 8-10 minutes.

10. Let sit a few minutes, then sprinkle feta mixture over meatballs.