A week or so ago one of my dearest friends, Erica, called me in need of a good turkey meatball recipe.  Now, when Erica says she needs a good recipe, she’s serious.  She’s a kitchen experimenter extraordinaire.  And she can be relentless about it…trying different methods and doing recipes over and over until they are just right.  No surprise she’s one of my most favorite people on the planet.  Not to mention she’s got a super cool dog and two of the most adorable boys you’ve ever, ever seen.  (And her husband’s pretty great, too – I shouldn’t leave him out!)

Seattle Aquarium 2008
Here's Erica with Adorable Son #1, in blue, and my son at the Seattle Aquarium last year.
Here's the coolest dog ever, Denali, after a particularly exhausting New Year's party.
The coolest dog, Denali, after a particularly exhausting New Year's party.
Seattle 2008
And Adorable Son #2 after a particularly exhausting day with my son (in grey.)

Erica and I have conspired on a number of kitchen concoctions and my favorite wine tastings ever were hosted by her.  So I was immediately on board with the quest for a really great turkey meatball.  She was starting with a recipe from Giada and improvising from there.

First things first, she doubled the cheese.  Erica always doubles the cheese.

Then she was planning to caramelize some onions before adding them to mixture…puréed to add moisture…genius.  We discussed bread crumbs and eggs and options for cooking technique.  She promised to send me her final  trial recipe if it turned out.

I made them last night.  You should make them tonight.  YUM.

Meatballs formed and waiting to get a little sear on the outside

I made only slight deviations from her final version: I didn’t completely purée the onions, rather just gave them a super chop after they were caramelized, and I pan-seared them in bacon grease.  I am from the South, after all.

Meatballs II
Meatballs getting happy in bacon fat

I wish I had a photo of them finished and on a plate…but everyone ate them too fast.  My three-year-old had SIX of them!  And I thought I’d made enough to have left overs for lunch today…but they were all gone last night. Impressive.

I served them over rice with a brown, mushroom gravy with corn and a green salad on the side.  But I can’t wait to try them in a tomato sauce on a bed of pasta. Or with egg noodles and a stroganoff-type sauce.

And the next time I make them I’m going to double or triple the batch so I can always have some handy in the freezer.  Thanks to my dear Seattle pal, I present, a fantastic turkey meatball:

Turkey Meatballs

adapted from Erica who adapted from Giada

1 large sweet onion – chopped, caramelized and puréed (or adequately mashed)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg

1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

3 TB ketchup  (I’m also thinking about doing half tomato paste and half pesto here…if you try that, let me know!)

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup Asiago, grated

1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pound ground turkey meat

3 TB olive oil – or bacon grease 🙂

Add all ingredients (expect turkey and oil) to a large bowl and blend well.  Mix in turkey until evenly blended.  Shape turkey into 1 1/4 inch balls.  (I use one of those scoopers for cookie dough to help keep them semi-uniform.) Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Brown meatballs, in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides, but not cooked through – about 5 minutes.  Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.  Let rest for a few minutes before serving.  Makes roughly 24 meatballs.


2 thoughts on “Meatballs!

  1. Wow! A turkey-fied Italian Meatball!I’d make this and squeeze some mozzarella cheese in the middle…I love cheese too!I came across your blog from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide our readers to your site if you won’t mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Back with The Daring Kitchen… « Gather Around The Table

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