Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Baked Parmesan Polenta

4.80 from 5 votes
1 hour 15 minutes
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Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Baked Parmesan Polenta is a fun twist on classic Chicken Marsala.  It’s comforting, delicious and will bring a taste of Italy to your table!

Chicken Meatballs Marsala with Parmesan Polenta in white bowl with fork.

Chicken Marsala, made with Marsala wine, is a classic dish you’ll find on menus in many Italian-American restaurants.  Here’s a creative and fun spin on it!

First of all, let me just say that photographing white meat in a white sauce over creamy yellow-white polenta is a bit of a challenge.  However, this dish was worth the challenge!

What is Marsala wine?

Real Marsala wine is produced near Sicily.  Marsala is a “fortified” wine which means additional alcohol (such as brandy) was added during the fermentation process.  Adding the alcohol enables it to keep longer, however alcohol levels can be as high as 20%.

There are two types–dry or sweet.  You’ll want to purchase dry marsala for this dish; sweet marsala is best served with dessert.

Tips for making meatballs:

  • When I make meatballs, I like to get all the ingredients except the ground meat mixed together before adding the ground meat.  This ensures all the ingredients—especially the seasonings—are evenly distributed.
  • I wear disposable gloves and mix with my hands to get the job done faster and more thoroughly.
  • Make the Chicken Marsala Meatballs in any size you like.  I chose to do jumbo meatballs here because it adds to the fun element.
  • If doing smaller meatballs, the best way I’ve found to portion and form meatballs is with a 1-inch cookie dough scoop.  Simply grab a handful of the meat mixture in one hand and the cookie dough scoop in the other.  Use the heel of the hand holding the meat mixture to level off the scoop.  Empty the scoop onto the baking sheet then go back and form them into neat balls with your hands.
  • Frying meatballs is messy and requires more attention so I prefer to bake them.  The meatballs won’t have the color they would if fried, but this method is still so much easier.  I place on a sheet pan and bake to the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees.

How to bake polenta:

Besides the baked meatballs, another element of this dish that won’t require a great deal of attention is the baked polenta.

The traditional method for making polenta involves adding it slowly to boiling water or stock so that it doesn’t lump up, then stirring and watching it carefully so that it doesn’t burn.  This process can take 30 minutes or more.

Instead, get the liquid and polenta combined.  Briefly microwave it to get it hot then place it in the oven to finish cooking.

Photo of polenta with melting butter.

Bake the Chicken Meatballs Marsala at the same temperature as the polenta.  You can do the meatballs ahead of time and then reheat them.  However, the polenta does not hold well and will begin to stiffen up as it sits.

Photo of mushrooms being sauteed in pan with wooden spoon.
Photo of meatballs in the Marsala sauce being stirred with wooden spoon.

Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Baked Parmesan Polenta!  Enjoy!

Chicken Meatballs Marsala with Parmesan Polenta in white bowl with fork.

For more amazing meatball recipes, check out my:

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Chicken Meatballs Marsala with Parmesan Polenta in white bowl with fork.

Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Baked Parmesan Polenta

4.80 from 5 votes

Click to Rate!

By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Chicken Marsala Meatballs with Baked Parmesan Polenta is a fun twist on classic Chicken Marsala. It’s comforting, delicious and is sure to bring a taste of Italy to your table!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 833 kcal

Ingredients
  

Polenta

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Meatballs

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg - beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken - or turkey

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (8-ounce) sliced Cremini (baby Portobello) mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley - plus more for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

Polenta

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Combine chicken broth, half-and-half, polenta and salt and black pepper to taste in the baking dish. Stir to combine.
  • Microwave uncovered on high for 3 minutes. Stir again, cover and place in the oven.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and butter. Serve with meatballs.

Meatballs

  • Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Heat oil and butter in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook 6-7 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook 15 seconds or until fragrant. Transfer half of the onions to a mixing bowl and take remaining onions in the pan off the heat temporarily. Let onions in bowl cool 5 minutes before adding other ingredients.
  • To mixing bowl with onions, add half the parsley, 2 tablespoons marsala, milk, panko, egg, salt, black pepper and mix well. Add ground chicken and mix well again.
  • Form chicken mixture into 12 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers at least 165 degrees.

Sauce

  • While meatballs are baking, add the butter to pan with remaining onion-garlic combination and bring back up to medium-high temperature. Add the mushrooms then reduce heat to medium and cook 5-6 minutes or until mushrooms are brown and tender.
  • Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add Marsala, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Slowly add chicken broth, Worcestershire and heavy cream. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
  • Transfer meatballs back to the pan and heat through. Add parsley, salt and black pepper to taste. Serve over meatballs with polenta. Garnish with additional parsley.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  Meatballs and sauce can be made 1-2 days ahead.  Bake, combine with the sauce, cool and refrigerate.  Place in a covered oven-safe container and reheat at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the center of each meatball is 165 degrees in the center and the sauce is bubbling.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Meatballs and sauce can be frozen for 2-3 months.  Prepare as directed, cool thoroughly then place in an airtight container or containers as desired.  Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until the center of each meatball is 165 degrees.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 833kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 229mg | Sodium: 2888mg | Potassium: 1236mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1392IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 499mg | Iron: 4mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love all your recipes, but this is my favorite! Thank you for so many wonderful meals we have had since I was told about your website.
    k

  2. Warning! If you increase the servings, the recipe does not increase the size of the baking dish or saute pan or the length of time to cook the polenta. I learned the hard way.

    1. Hi, Cheryl, Thanks so much for your feedback and sorry that happened. Yes, only the ingredients get doubled. I use the best recipe program available but it has limitations.

  3. So many amazing flavors you added to this beautiful dish! I love that you baked the chicken meatballs and not fried them 🙂 and your images came out stunning, even with the chicken, polenta and white sauce

    1. Hi, Albert, Thanks so much! Yes, I was surprised to be in FoodGawker’s #1 spot! This was definitely a tough one to photograph!