You can eat these delicious turkey meatballs anytime of the year, with or without a nice tomato based sauce, with or without pasta. But in my case, as a friend of mine decided to no longer invite us over for Thanksgiving (as she saw the light and decided instead to go spend the holiday weekend in Manhattan) and I was now faced with the task of hosting dinner at my house, I decided to add a new (and “lazy”) twist to my Thanksgiving dinner table. Forget a whole turkey, and just make some turkey meatballs. After all, who does not like a well seasoned meatball and who can object to my choice since I am the one slaving around in the kitchen? LOL I find the meatballs really good served alongside Food52’s Canal House Cranberry Port Gelee (or any other cranberry sauce of your choice, I guess). You can also make Marcella Hazan’s famous and wonderful tomato and onion recipe and let the meatballs sink in that delicious sauce. This recipe is adapted from a recipe called “Turkey Meatballs with Pancetta and Sun Dried Tomatoes” which itself is adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis @wendyweekendgourmet.com. —Regine
about 18 so 4-6 servings
Ground turkey (I use extra lean)
Strips bacon, finely diced
Onion or shallots, finely diced
Red bell pepper, finely diced
Medium garlic cloves, crushed
Fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
Grated Parmesan (also called parmigiano-reggiano)
Pain bread crumbs (I use Panko)
Eggs, lightly beaten
Paprika (I prefer sweet smoked paprika)
Preheat oven to 450.
Heat olive oil in a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and dried thyme, and continue to cook until it onion is tender, maybe 4 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic last about 30 seconds before you take the onion mixture off the stove. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the onion mixture with the remaining meatball ingredients and stir to combine. I like to first beat the eggs with the salt, black pepper, and paprika.
Form the turkey mixture into balls using 2 tbsp of the meat for each meatball. Please note that mixture is a bit wet so feel free to add a bit of flour into the palms of your hands. Will yield about 18 meatballs. Place on a foil lined and greased baking sheet, bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.
You may see a whitish substance around each meatball. Brush it off before you place meatballs on platter. Sprinkle some chopped parsley or another herb of your choice all over and in between the meatballs.
If you want to serve it during Thanksgiving, I suggest you place in the middle of the plate a little bowl of cranberry sauce (see one of my pictures) like Food52’s Canal House Cranberry Port Gelee. Or make Marcella Hazan’s tomato and onion recipe, and spread it over the meatballs.
Note: You can prepare in advance and place meatballs on their baking sheet and covered in refrigerator 1-2 days before baking; or in freezer. For the latter. find some space in your freezer to place baking sheet until the meat is frozen, then transfer the meatballs into freezer ziplog containers. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Not sure if it will take longer to bake.