Reading through A Year in the Kitchen, I’ve discovered that Nigel really loves his pancetta, which may account for part of the reason I really love his recipes.
This dish appealed to me the second I read it. It was one of the first recipes in February, but I knew immediately it would be the one I’d choose to make & blog for the month, as part of my year in the kitchen with Nigel. I liked that these patties weren’t your standard burger, or a meatball in sauce. They were served simply with some stock that bubbled away as the patties finished cooking. We had these with some crusty rolls to soak up the stock, and a nice green salad.
Of course I did reduce the amount of butter in this recipe. Apparently a “thick slice” of butter to Nigel Slater = half a stick. I didn’t really think that was necessary since he was using a nonstick pan and the pancetta adds some fat, too. I used ground lean chicken thighs, but white meat would work, too. I just love the flavor of thighs, and they’re much cheaper.
I opted to use my cast iron skillet for this all the way through (Nigel uses a nonstick pan and a baking dish). It’s well-seasoned, so it’s basically nonstick as it is. Plus it sears burgers and meats nicely, and can go in the oven. And, who wants to use 2 or 3 pans when you can just use one? It seemed like the perfect tool for this dish.
We really loved these patties. They’re incredibly simple, both to make and ingredient-wise. The rosemary and pancetta almost give this a breakfasty-vibe, but in a good way. I loved using the bread to soak up the extra liquid, but these would also be great over mashed potatoes. I’ll definitely make these again!
Chicken Patties with Rosemary and Pancetta
Adapted from Nigel Slater
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, diced
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 oz. pancetta, small dice
2 or 3 bushy sprigs of rosemary, chopped
1 lb. ground chicken (I used lean thighs, use what you want)
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock
Heat a skillet (I used my cast iron skillet for all the steps) over medium heat. Add the butter to melt and then stir in the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic, pancetta, and finally the rosemary. Continue cooking until the pancetta is golden brown. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Add the mixture to the ground chicken, along with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly mix everything together and form into patties or meatballs. I decided to make 8 patties. Let the patties settle for about half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375. Wipe out your skillet, and add a little oil to it–just enough to coat the bottom. Add the meatballs and brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet. Move the skillet off the heat and stir in the chicken broth, scraping up all the browned bits from the pan. Place the patties back into the skillet, and then put the pan in the oven. Cook for about 25 minutes, until patties are fully cooked and stock is bubbling.