Za'atar Turkey Meatballs with Chard and Bulgur

By • December 9, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: They say it's a good idea to stock up on groceries when they're on sale. So I do. And then I end up with a pound of frozen turkey and an unopened package of feta just taking up space for months. When I finally got around to using them, I decided to go the turkey meatball route, with Middle Eastern spices. You can get za’atar pre-made, but since I still had fresh thyme in the garden, I decided to flavor the meatballs with the components of za’atar—thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt—instead of using a mix. pantryhero

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Serves 4

  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground sumac
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup soft fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (I freeze a slice of sandwich bread then pulse it in a food processor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch cayenne flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus some
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup coarse grain bulgur
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard (about 3/4 lb), stems and leaves separated, stems diced (1/4-1/3") and leaves coarsely chopped
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat.
  2. Gently mix the turkey, 2 oz. of the feta, 2 of the cloves of minced garlic, and the next 9 ingredients (onion through 1/2 tsp. of salt) in a medium bowl. Do not overmix. Form into 16 evenly-sized balls.
  3. Cook the meatballs in 2 batches. Turn every 3-4 minutes until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes for each batch. They will lose their shape and come out more like pyramids than balls. Keep the cooked meatballs warm on a plate tented with foil, or in a low oven. Don't clean out the skillet, and don't turn the heat off.
  4. While you’re cooking the meatballs, put the bulgur and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, put a lid on it, reduce the heat to low, and cook until all of the water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat when done, and let sit with the lid on.
  5. After you're done cooking all of the meatballs, add the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and the chopped chard stems to the same skillet. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. water and stir to scrape up all of the browned bits. Continuing stirring frequently until the stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining clove of minced garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the chard leaves and salt to taste and stir until wilted, 3-5 minutes.
  6. To serve, fluff the bulgur with a fork and divide it among 4 plates. Top each with 1/4 of the cooked chard, 1/2 oz. of the remaining feta cheese, and 4 meatballs.

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