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Author Notes: Around here, I’ve developed a reputation for my juicy turkey meatballs. I make all kinds of these tender, round morsels. This version is sweet and spicy with a sticky raspberry-chili glaze. The smoky heat of chipotle peppers plays against the sweet raspberries and tangy lime.
This recipe has a medium heat level. If you want to keep things on the mild side, omit the whole chili. Canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce are found in the Mexican section of most groceries stores. These chilies are hot, so I only use one, along with the liquid/sauce in the can. Do not make the mistake of adding the entire can of chilies to this recipe. One chili plus some of the liquid in the can is plenty.
The trick to keeping turkey meatballs moist is to keep them small. This ensures even cooking, without worrying that the centers aren’t cooked. Minced onion puts much needed moisture back into the ground turkey. The meatballs cook very quickly. Resist the urge to overcook them.
Liquid Smoke is wonderful in this sauce, bumping up the smoky notes. It’s also great in chili and other Mexican dishes.
Another type of jam, such as blackberry or peach, could be used as a substitute in place of raspberry jam. —Vintage Kitchen
- Ingredients for the sauce:
- 1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. You will only be using one chili from the can, along with the liquid surrounding the chilies (see notes for explanation).
- 2/3 cup of raspberry, blackberry or peach jam. I use regular. But seedless raspberry jam will produce a smoother sauce.
- 1 lime
- 1/3 cup water
- 1-2 shakes of liquid smoke (optional but good)
- Salt to taste
- Ingredients for the meatballs:
- 1 pound of ground turkey. I use humanely raised, 94 percent lean. You can also use ground chicken.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of shredded Mexican blend, cheddar or monterey jack cheese. Your choice.
- 1/2 small onion, minced using the smallest holes of a hand grater
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Mexican oregano is great in this recipe.
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- Salt to taste
- Oil for pan frying. I use olive oil.
- Serving suggestions: lime wedges, sour cream for dipping, rice, mashed potatoes, oven fries.
- To make the sauce: Remove and reserve in a bowl the liquid from the can of chipotle chilies in adobo. There should be about 3 tablespoons of liquid in the entire can. If you have less liquid in your can of chipotle chilies, don’t worry. The pepper/liquid combination is hot and flavorful. A little goes a long way. Add one whole chipotle chili to the bowl with the liquid from the can and mash with a fork. Stir in your choice of jam, the water, the liquid smoke and a pinch of salt. Mix to combine. Stir in the juice of half the lime and reserve the other half.
- To make the meatballs: Using the smallest holes of a handheld box grater, mince the onion and garlic directly into a medium sized bowl. Add the ground turkey, the egg, the shredded cheese of your choice, the ground cumin, dried oregano and some salt. Mix to combine. Wet your hands with water or lightly oil them with some olive oil. Form the mixture into small, walnut-size balls. Add some oil to a large nonstick fry pan and heat it on medium to medium high heat. Place the meatballs in the pan and brown on both sides. Fry the meatballs in batches if needed. You don’t want to crowd the pan. As the meatballs are browning, take them out of the pan and reserve on a plate. Don’t worry too much about cooking them all the way through. They will finish cooking in the sauce. Once all the meatballs are browned on both sides, return the whole batch to the pan. Keep the pan on medium to medium high heat and quickly pour the reserved raspberry chipotle sauce over the meatballs. Stir everything around and coat the meatballs with the sauce. Keep stirring. Once the meatballs are cooked, transfer them to a plate. Turn up the heat and cook the sauce a minute or so longer to thicken it, stirring the entire time. It should reduce a little bit and become syrupy. Be careful not to burn the sauce. Put the meatballs back in the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve with fresh lime wedges and any of the suggestions. Enjoy!