Monday, January 28, 2013

Gobble Gobble Turkey Meatballs


Here's a recipe I made that did come out right.  In years past, for Thanksgiving,  I've grilled turkey, roasted a whole bird in the traditional method, I've made a roast out of the breast and smoked it...  I wanted to do something different this year.  Truthfully, I didn't want anything to do with making food this time around but when I came across this recipe I was all in.  I wanted to contribute at least a little something for our dinner meal but I didn't feel like making a traditional bird.  The only other person making food this time was my little brother but he also didn't want to make a whole bird and he prefers making desserts anyway.  He decided to make the main in the form of a beef roast so that cleared the road for me to make something out of turkey. 

The turkey meatballs aren't exactly a side dish but it's not like we had an appetizer course so who cares.  I wanted to use turkey in some way, to truly make it feel like turkey day Thanksgiving.  This dish did the trick.  Most of the elements of a traditional Thanksgiving meal are here - turkey obviously,  cranberries and the stuffing.  Not shown in the pictures below are a bacon gravy I made and mashed potatoes laced with a cilantro and pepita pesto.  Though the balls and mashed potatoes were sides, I plated the balls on a mound of whipped potatoes, ladled gravy over the top and grated some parmesan over everything to finish the dish.  I was more than happy with how they came out.  If you decide to make them, I guarantee, you will be satisfied too.

Thanksgiving in ball.

This was a fun recipe to make.  With the exception of making my own bread cubes (you can use store bought croutons) and chopping some herbs, this recipe was just a matter of dump, mix and scoop.

The recipe I used came from The Meatball Shop Cookbook.  I haven't tried making anything else from it, but if the rest of the balls are as good as these were, I'd highly recommend the book.

But for now, I'll leave you with the recipe for these beauties.  

Gobble Gobble Turkey Meatballs
(Yields about two dozen)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. ground turkey
2 c. garlic croutons (recipe below) or stuffing cubes
1 c. dried cranberries
2 eggs
¼ c. bread crumbs
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Drizzle olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

2. Combine ground turkey, croutons, cranberries, eggs, bread crumbs, sage, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

3. Roll the mixture into golf ball-size meatballs, packing the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, lining them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should touch.

4. Roast 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°.

5. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

Garlic Croutons 
(Yields six cups)

1 lg. loaf stale country bread, crusts removed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. fresh oregano, finely chopped
¼ c. olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Add garlic and oregano and drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently to combine and season with salt.

3. Place the croutons on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Stir and continue to bake until the croutons are golden brown and crunchy, checking and stirring every 5 minutes.

A few things I did that deviated from the original recipe.
  • I added an additional tablespoon of rendered bacon fat to ensure juiciness.
  • I used ground turkey, not ground turkey breast.  So be sure to get dark meat in there.  It will impart more flavor and moisture.
  • I soaked the dried cranberries in cranberry juice to plump em up a little bit.  Again, for added moisture and flavor.
  • I used Panko bread crumbs.  The ball will have a better texture for it.
  • Rather than using stale bread I used a day old loaf and cubed it.  I sauteed the cubes in 4 tablespoons butter while constantly tossing them.   I seasoned them with salt, pepper, fresh garlic, fresh oregano and red pepper flakes. 

1 comment:

  1. Memo, love these meatballs - I have never had turkey ones. Please drop me a note on if it's ok with you for me to link this to my blog. Cheers