Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Roasted Italian Turkey Meatballs

Food processors are great. Need to grate a ton of cheese? Bzzzzzzzzz. Done. Need to chop 4 onions? Bzzzzzzzzz. Done. Dips or hummus? Bzzzzzzzzz. Done. Puréed soup without your blender exploding all over your kitchen? Bzzzzzzzzz. Done. Hooray!

Anyway you get my point. This recipe can be made without a food processor, but using one makes finely chopping and grating the vegetables and herbs a quick task that can easily be done on a weeknight. I used a combination of dark turkey meat and turkey sausage to prevent the meatballs from being dry, which turkey can easily be, and to add more flavor. I served the meatballs with this tomato sauce which you can easily make while you make your meatballs. As far as herbs go, use a combination of what you have around or what looks good when you're at the store. Including cheese in the meat mixture creates a lovely golden brown, crunchy exterior on the meatballs after broiling.

Roasted Italian Turkey Meatballs
-Makes about a dozen 1 1/2 inch meatballs

1/2 pound dark turkey meat
1/2 pound italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup pecorino romano, plus more for serving
2 carrots, grated
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped (any combo of parsley, thyme, and sage is great)
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-Turn your broiler on high.

-Chop/grate vegetables and herbs. You can do this by hand, but I used a cuisinart to chop the onion, garlic, and herbs- add the garlic first and chop a bit to get it started, add the onion, and then add the herbs at the end so they aren't over-chopped. Next, swap out the cuisinart blade for the grating attachment and grate the carrots into the same work bowl. 

-In a large bowl combine turkey meat, turkey sausage, pecorino romano, carrots, onion, garlic, herbs, egg, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix gently by hand, making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed but don't over mix. 

- Roll the mixture into ~1 1/2 inch meatballs (adjust cooking time if you prefer a different size) and place on a large greased cookie sheet with a bit of space in between each ball. 

-Broil meatballs for 15 minutes, turning halfway through so you'll evenly brown them. The meatballs will be fragile, so watch out. Turn off the broiler and turn the oven to 350˚F and bake the meatballs until the inside of one meatball reaches 165˚F. Alternatively, you can transfer the browned meatballs to a pot of tomato sauce and simmer them until they're cooked if you like.

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