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Author Notes: As a food blogger, I occasionally get inquiries from various food producers. One was cheese manufacturer who puts out inch-square chunks of Parmesan cheese. The stuff was begging to end up inside of a meatball. Because ground turkey can be dry, I always add some hydrated chia seeds. When added to liquid, the tiny seeds form gel that adds moisture to any ground meat. —theminx
Serves 3-4, with a starch of your choice
- 1.5 teaspoons ground chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1.5 pounds ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- plain or Italian-style dry bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 ounces Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup pesto
- Soak the ground chia seeds in the water for about fifteen minutes until they reach a jelly-like consistency. Place the bloomed seeds in a bowl with the ground turkey, basil, and onion. Mix well to incorporate seeds and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture seems too moist, add some dry bread crumbs, a tablespoonful at a time.
- Divide the meat mixture into 10-12 portions. Form each portion into a ball, poke a hole in the center and add a cheese cube, then use the meat to close the hole over the cheese. The cheese should be completely encased in the meat.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Brown meatballs all over, then add stock. Turn heat down to low and cover pan. Braise meatballs for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, to make sure they are cooked through. Most of the liquid should evaporate during that time. Stir in pesto and heat through.