July 2, 2024

Herby Chicken Meatballs and Rice

Recipe: Shea McGee

“The Herby Chicken Meatballs and Rice is briny, satiating, and herbaceous. What I love about this dish is that you can adjust the flavor by swapping in whatever tender herbs you have on hand. The recipe uses dill, but you could just as easily use basil or mint in its place.” – Shea McGee


  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 yellow onion, small
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dill
  • 7 oz. feta cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups long grain rice, such as basmati
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups kale, chopped


Yield: Serves 4

  1. In large bowl, combine milk and panko breadcrumbs and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow breadcrumbs to absorb milk. This is called panade and helps make meatballs tender and moist. Grate onion, crumble half of feta cheese, and zest 1 tsp lemon zest into bowl along with egg, chopped dill and 1 tsp kosher salt. Whisk, then add ground chicken and mix until just combined. Overmixing will make meatballs tough.
  2. Form chicken mixture into 12 large meatballs using ¼ measuring cup or large cookie scoop. Cover meatballs with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight. When ready to cook, add 1 tbsp olive oil to sheet pan and place meatballs on pan. Drizzle meatballs with additional 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set oven to broil and position rack in top 1/3 of oven. Broil meatballs until charred on top, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ½ tbsp olive oil to large Dutch oven or braiser (about 3.5-qt. capacity) over medium heat. Once oil is rippling, add kale and garlic to pan and quickly sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until kale is vibrant green. Add rice, remaining 1 tsp kosher salt and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and add broiled meatballs to pan. Cover with tight-fitting lid and cook, undisturbed, until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through to internal temperature of 165°F, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. When chicken and rice are finished, crumble remaining feta over top of dish. Squeeze wedge of lemon over top and sprinkle with additional dill, if desired.
Author: Alexandra Whyte

Photography courtesy of Studio McGee