May 24, 2012

Turkey Meatballs

In my last post I talked about how we like to buy meat in bulk when its on sale to store in our freezer for later use.  After the last go-round we had to do some shifting to make room for the new stuff and I came across the ground turkey that has been in there for about 4 months now. 

We bought it when it was on sale for $0.98 each and from previous experiences we knew that this type of ground turkey did not prepare well into turkey burgers because they ended up being a mushy mess.  It makes pretty good lasagna, but the turkey does come out a little on the dry side.  I wanted to try something new.  The hubs and I have had a bug up our butts lately about making spaghetti so the lightbulb went off in my head to make some turkey meatballs!  Josh's grandma is the meatball master and she's taught me a thing or two over the years about how to make them right.  So lets get started, shall we?

We're going to make 2 pounds worth so take your two pounds of turkey and put it in a large bowl.  Add to that 2 Tbls Worcestershire, 1 Tbls hot sauce, 1 egg, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, 2 Tbls fresh parsley, 1 Tbls fresh oregano, 2 tsp ground pepper, and a 1/2 cup of panko crumbs. 

Notice how there's no salt in there?  Turkey is pretty salty on its own and with the addition of the Worcestershire and hot sauce, you've got the sodium covered.  Now if you want to be dainty, go ahead and mix this with a large spoon until well blended.  Or, you could go the easy route and get in there with your hands to mix it all up. 

This should only take about 10 seconds.   Meanwhile, over on your stove, place a large shallow pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add 2 Tbls unsalted butter and 2 Tbls canola oil until the butter is melted.  You can do just canola oil if you'd like to keep this on the healthier side, but I feel like the butter adds a yummy flavor component.  By the way, your pan is too hot if your butter starts turning brown.  If this happens, just turn the heat down a bit and keep on truckin'.  No need to start over.  I use a small ice cream scooper to measure out my meatballs and roll them in my hand to form them but you can use whatever works best for you. 

The great thing about these is that you can make your balls as big or small as you want.  Just make sure they're cooked all the way through in the end.  Once your butter is melted and the oil is hot, drop the meatballs one by one into the pan.  You'll know it's time to flip them when they look like they're almost cooked through to the top.

Each side will take about 3-5 minutes depending on how big you made your balls. 

When they seem like they're done cooking, take one and place it on a plate lined with a few paper towels.  Cut it down the middle and if there's no pink left in them then you've successfully made meatballs.  Take the rest out and put on the plate to cool down and drain some of the excess oil. 

From here, you can drop them right into your marinara sauce, eat them by themselves, or put them back in your freezer for later use.

Since we used the fresh herbs to make these, they come out tasting light and delicious.  They're pretty cheap too!  Like I said, I got the turkey for $1.96, I used about $0.50 worth of panko, the herbs cost me $1.50 (but if you've got your garden going they would be much cheaper), and as for the rest of the ingredients, we'll round up and figure they cost about $2.00 for the amounts we used.  So for under $6.00 I made about 30 meatballs.  If I'd waited another month and used my own herbs, these only would have cost about $4.50.  Either way, they're budget friendly!

Turkey Meatballs

2 lbs ground turkey
2 Tbls Worcestershrire
1 Tbls hot sauce (just use your favorite)
1 egg
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbls fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbls fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 Tbls unsalted butter
2 Tbls canola oil

Add all the ingredients except the butter and oil to a large bowl.  Mix well.  In a large shallow pan over medium to medium-high heat, add the butter and oil.  Once the butter has melted start forming the meatballs and drop them one by one into the oil.  Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes.  Cut one in half to see if there's any pink left in the middle.  If there isn't then remove the meatballs and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to cool.