French Onion Chicken Meatballs

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Nothing says comfort food quite like a warm, bubbly, cup of french onion soup. Am I right?! I love the flavors that come with making french onion soup: the melty cheese, the savory flavors of the broth, and of course, who can forget about the caramelized onions? I've taken my love of this classic soup and married the flavors with ground chicken, making the most delicious french onion chicken meatballs you'll ever eat. Guaranteed.

Where did "french onion" get its name?

The term "French onion" came from, you guessed it, France, in the 18th century, being served all across the country. It's roots actually stem from beef broth and onions, and it's said to have been made for King Louis XV and his family. You can read more about this origin here.

Ingredients for french onion chicken meatballs

The ingredients for these easy french onion chicken meatballs is pretty standard, except for this rendition of a meatball, you are adding chopped caramelized onions to the mixture. This gives the meatballs a savory texture, mouthfeel, and overall delicious taste, because caramelized onions are amazing. Here's what you'll need:

  • Ground chicken: Ground chicken tends to work better in most meatball recipes than turkey for whatever reason, and in my personal opinion, while I LOVE ground turkey recipes, ground chicken is the underdog here.
  • Caramelized Onions: the trick to caramelizing onions is low and slow. You can really get them caramelized by letting them sit for over an hour or so, but in this recipe we do a quick caramelized onion for about an hour.
  • Breadcrumbs: the binding agent for the meatballs.
  • Egg: another binder for the meatball mixture.
  • Parmesan: we add just a 1/4 cup to help combine the meat, egg, and breadcrumbs together.
  • Salt and pepper: because we need some flavor!
  • Butter: the butter will be used predominately for the caramelized onions.
  • Gruyere cheese: this nutty cheese will be sprinkled on top of the meatballs while they bake, so as to act as the cheese in the french onion soup. Literal perfection if I may say so myself.

How do I make caramelized onions?

This is a fun activity to learn over and over again, because as I've come to learn myself, there are variations of caramelizing onions and degrees of caramelized. You can get them SUUUPER dark and sweet, or you can do a quick caramelization (like I do here) and they both come out fabulous. The trick? Butter, a little arrowroot, and patience. LOTS of patience. You'll need to let the onions caramelize and simmer for quite a while to achieve the darker caramelized onions. If you have time, great! If not, stick with the hour and you've gone naturally sweet, insanely tasty caramelized onions to top on these meatballs, and save the rest for other ideas.

What else can I use caramelized onions with?

I made way too many caramelized onions the last time I made this recipe, so I made some french onion burgers that I just might need to add to the blog soon, but some other ideas are:

  • French onion galette (I have a recipe for this and it's amazing)
  • French onion soup (I mean, a classic)
  • Turkey and caramelized onion sub or hoagie (however you say it)
  • Caramelized onion BLTs --> this actually sounds amazing!

There are so many ways to incorporate caramelized onions in a meal!

Key Tips and Tricks:

  1. Do not over-mix the ground chicken: You don't want to bite into a super tough, chewy, meatball. It just won't taste good. When mixing, use four fingers and rake the meat into the center of the bowl, mixing as you go. Once the egg, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients are combined, stop mixing!
  2. Keep the temp low, and monitor the meatballs: Ground chicken can get dry very quickly, which is why I chose to use 350º versus a higher temperature, and instead of going for the full 30 minutes, bake a few minutes less, as the meatballs will bake a touch more to melt the cheese.
  3. Add a little fresh thyme to the mix if you want some fresh herbs other than the dried herbs. If you want to spruce up the mixture, add a quick gravy: mix 2 tbsp flour and 1/2 cup beef broth and pour over the meatballs. Then top with cheese.

Hungry for more?

Still can't quite satisfy your appetite? I've got you covered with these yummy treats. Call it... dessert :)

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

Caramelized onions become the star of the show in these drool-worthy french onion chicken meatballs, making them excellent as a meal prep or a fun twist on dinner. Your family will love you for this recipe!

Author:
Morgan

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups gruyere cheese
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Start by adding onions to a cast iron skillet or dutch oven with three tablespoons of butter. Let the onions caramelize on a low flame for 40-50m.
  3. Take some of the caramelized onions and chop them up, add to the meat mixture.
  4. Form meatballs the size of golf balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 28 minutesT.
  5. Once finished, sprinkle the meatballs with the with gruyere cheese and bake again for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Serve over orzo, rice, or pasta.

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