Chicken and Anchovy Marbles with a Rosemary, Tomato and Crème Fraîche Sauce

Chicken balls are more unusual than meatballs and in this recipe the anchovy works wonders for adding flavour.


  • 50 g/2 oz crustless white bread
  • 350 g/12 oz skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 50 g/2 oz tin anchovies
  • ½ medium-sized red-skinned onion
  • handful fresh flat-leafed parsley
  • 1 medium egg, lightly whisked
  • 15 g/½ oz butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3-4 tomatoes, the plum variety if available
  • 200 ml/7 fl oz carton crème fraîche
  • 1 level teaspoon caster sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper


Tear up the bread, put it in a food processor and whizz to make breadcrumbs. Put the breadcrumbs into a large bowl. Cut up the chicken breasts roughly, put into the food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Stir the chopped chicken into the breadcrumbs.

Open the tin of anchovies and pour the oil into the bowl of chicken and breadcrumbs. Slice the anchovy fillets across thinly. Chop the onion finely. Reserve a few whole leaves of parsley for garnish and chop the rest roughly. Add the anchovies, onion, parsley and egg to the chicken and breadcrumb mixture, together with salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix together very thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using wet hands, form the mixture into small balls the size of large marbles.

Put the butter and olive oil into a large, heavy-based frying pan over a fairly gentle heat. Add the chicken marbles and fry for about 15 minutes, turning around several times to cook evenly. Then transfer them to a warm serving plate and keep warm in a low oven.

Take the spikes of rosemary off their stalks and chop finely. Put the tomatoes into a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for about 2 minutes, then drain, peel and cut into small cubes. Put the crème fraîche into a saucepan and add the chopped rosemary and tomatoes, the sugar and a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Put over a medium heat and stir, just under boiling point, for 4-5 minutes, to give the rosemary and tomato flavours time to develop. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken marbles and garnish with the reserved parsley leaves.