Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Grits and Sauce

October  5, 2015
0 Ratings
Photo by Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Meatballs and grits sounds a little weird, but bear with me: creamy grits and a classic tomato sauce just works. Add in a couple turkey meatballs and,'ve got something that works + meatballs.

Do the math, people. —Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats

What You'll Need
  • Sauce
  • 1 medium sweet onion (chopped finely, reserve 1/3-1/4 cup for sauce)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 large can San Marzano tomatoes (peeled or crushed)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Meatballs & Grits
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (Italian style or plain, or just use old bread torn into pieces)
  • 1/2 cup milk (enough to cover the bread crumbs, probably about half a cup)
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/3-1/4 cups onion (reserved from earlier)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups stone-ground grits (prepare using half milk, half water)
  1. First, get the grits going. Just do whatever it says on the package, nothing fancy here. And make sure you make it with half milk, half water, so they’re nice and creamy.
  2. To make the sauce, sauté the onion on low until it’s opaque, and make sure you save about a 1/3 of a cup for the meatballs.
  3. Throw the garlic in and cook it for 30 seconds, then put the tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste in there and give ‘em a good stir. Make sure to crush the tomatoes up a bit too, especially if you’re using whole ones.
  4. Pour in a cup of water (filling up the empty can of tomato paste twice should do the trick), a couple leaves of basil, and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  5. Turn up the heat to medium and get things simmering, then put a lid on it with a tiny crack to let out steam. Cook it on low for about 30 minutes, and make sure you give it a stir once in a while.
  6. Now for the meatballs.
  7. First, preheat your oven to 350.
  8. Put the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and cover with the milk. Make sure you only leave it for about five minutes; you don’t want the crumbs to sit for too long, otherwise you’ll get sad, sorry, soggy meatballs.
  9. Get yourself a bigger bowl and mix together the turkey, parmesan, eggs, onion, basil, parsley, and a little salt and pepper.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to take the bread crumbs out of the milk, and give ‘em a squeeze if you’re using fresh bread crumbs. You want them to be soggy, but not too soggy.
  11. Add the bread crumbs to the rest of the ingredients and mix. And make sure you use your hands so you get to experience that gross, squishy sound personally.
  12. Roll the bowl of turkey stuff into balls, using either your hands or a scoop soaked in water. You want the balls to be moist but still hold their shape, so add a little more milk if they’re not moist enough, and a little more crumb if they’re too moist. Also stop saying ‘moist’ so much. It’s gross.
  13. Get a baking sheet, line it with parchment paper, and put the balls on there. They can be super close, just make sure they don’t touch.
  14. Drizzle some olive oil on top and bake them for about 20 minutes, then take them out and let them cool for five and throw them in with the sauce.
  15. All that’s left is to get super-fancy with your plating skills. Put a nice puddle of grits in the middle of the plate, put two or three meatballs and some sauce on top, and garnish it with some fresh-grated parmesan and basil.

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