Turkey Meatballs Marsala with Egg Noodles

turkey meatballs marsala with egg noodles - trustinkim

As soon as I saw this recipe in Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Every Day I knew I would have to make it soon – and I know it will be one of my regular dishes. It’s got that great comfort food feel to it, and it was liked greatly by all the tasters. It smelled so good that I didn’t even take time to get a better photo!

I made a few changes to the recipe: It was written as a chicken recipe, but I used turkey; I find it easier to get good quality ground turkey at my grocery stores, plus in my opinion turkey has a little more flavour. I substituted non-dairy milk and cream since I have a lactose sensitivity. I wrote the recipe up with the option of using a non-dairy butter substitute, but I still used butter because there’s really no substitute for the flavour, and I’m willing to suffer a bit for that goodness. The chicken stock I used is homemade; I store it in the freezer for times like this, because I haven’t found a store-bought stock that tastes nearly as good. For the seasoning, next time I would add the salt and pepper to the sauce at the last minute, rather than before adding the meatballs as the recipe specified. I found that the meatballs contributed to the flavour of the sauce, and it was slightly over-salted. 

This meal serves four, and I served it with some gorgeous tomatoes from my Uncle Arnie’s garden, just with some salt and pepper cracked on top, and a little olive oil if people wanted to drizzle that on. Red wine too! All in all, a super delicious meal!

What you need for the meatballs:

  • 450grams (1 lb) lean ground turkey or chicken (I used turkey)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the onion
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala, sherry, or Madeira (I used Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Nutty Solera sherry)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 3/4 c chicken stock or broth (I used my homemade stock)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used Silk Coconut Coffee Cream – doesn’t taste like coconut)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you need for the noodles:

  • 340 grams (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoons butter 
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh chives

What you do:

  1. To make the meatballs, begin by heating a large frying pan and adding half the olive oil and butter. Once that is hot, add the minced onions and a pinch of salt. Stir the onions on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes; the onions should become a deep golden brown when they are done. Remove them from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Put all the meatball ingredients in a bowl, including the cooled onions, and stir to combine, not overmixing. Using wet hands, form the meatballs using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Place them on a plate.
  3. Using the same frying pan, heat up more of the olive oil and butter, and place the meatballs in the frying pan. Don’t be tempted to turn them until they have sufficiently browned or they will fall apart! Once one side has browned, roll each meatball, and keep doing this until they are browned all over. Place the cooked meatball on a plate – they will not be cooked through; this will happen later. I had to do this step in multiple batches so I that didn’t overcrowd the frying pan.
  4. Now is a good time to start boiling a large pot of water; if it’s ready before you need it, you can always turn it off and bring it back to a boil later.
  5. To make the sauce, add the Marsala/sherry/Madiera to the frying pan and let it boil, scraping all those tasty meatball bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid has almost disappeared. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and allow it to melt before adding the flour. Cook this mixture, while stirring, for one minute. Add the broth slowly, whisking it into the flour the whole time; make sure it boils before adding more. Add the cream, bring it to a simmer, and then add the meatballs. Reduce the heat and let the meatballs simmer for 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Taste the sauce to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  6. Towards the end of the sauce and meatball cooking time, cook the noodles in the salted water, according the the package instructions. I like to start testing the doneness after 5 minutes of cooking time, to make sure I don’t overcook them. Nobody likes a soggy noodle!
  7. Place the drained noodles in a large serving bowl or platter and toss them with some butter. Pour the meatballs and sauce over the noodles and garnish with the chives.
  8. Enjoy!

Scallion Turkey Meat”balls” with Soy Ginger Glaze

 

scallion meatballs with soy ginger glaze - trust in kim

As I was making these I swore (a lot) that I’d never make them again. I love baking, and I like cooking, but rolling and frying meatballs – this I do not enjoy. I guess the part that bugs me the most is: no matter how nicely I roll them into perfect little balls, they turn into triangles and other fancy shapes in the frying pan. That’s why I’ve renamed the recipe meat”balls.” I was going to call them meat”shapes” but I thought that might scare people away from this recipe.

But. . . when the results came in, and they were a big hit, I realized that like it or not, I will be making these again. I guess that means I just want to please the people I love.

These got rave reviews at a family party that I brought these to this weekend. I wasn’t sure how they’d go over, as there were a lot of kids (aka picky eaters). I didn’t think they’d like the cilantro in the meat”balls”, but they loved it; maybe it’s the slightly sweet sauce that made it go down so nicely. I really liked how tender the meatballs were.

I got this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog, and she adapted it from Canal House Cooking. The only changes I made were to halve the sauce recipe (it was plenty), and grate the ginger instead of chopping.

You can make the sauce ahead of time, and even the meatballs. Because I had to travel a way to my party, I cooked them ahead of time, then just reheated them at the party.

What you need for the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, preferably toasted
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil

What you need for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), or 1/4 cup sake with 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 whole black peppercorns

What you do:

  1. To make the sauce, combine the brown sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and let it boil, stirring, until it reduces by half. You want a thick liquid that coats the meatballs. Oops, I was supposed to strain it through a sieve – do this, or just remove the peppercorns like I did… oh, maybe I left them in. Sorry whoever got the peppercorns.
  2. Combine the meat”ball” ingredients in a large bowl and use a fork to mix it all together. Form them into balls, about 1 tablespoon in each. Use wet hands to do this.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add some meatballs to the pan, not overcrowding the pan; you want some room to move them around. Fry them until they are nice and browned on the outside (key to flavour!) and cooked through.
  4. Place on a (preferably) heated plate and top with sauce. Serve with toothpicks.

 

Turkey and Hot Italian Sausage Meatballs

Looking for an appetizer and wanting to make something for the meat-lovers coming to visit, I decided meatballs were the perfect thing.  I thought about what I would love in a meatball, and decided to improve on what I’ve done in the past.  I combined some favourites that I thought would work well together – the spice of the hot Italian sausages, the lightness of the turkey, a punch of flavour from the sun-dried tomatoes, and then some pistachios for a twist.  I put it all into a homemade tomato sauce, which is so easy, and I cooked them for a long time to make the sauce really thick and to give the flavours time to mingle.

I served them on skewers for appetizers, and the leftovers made a great topping for spaghetti squash.  Of course you could always go with the standby comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs.

What you need for the meatballs:

400 grams ground turkey thigh

400 grams hot Italian sausage, removed from casings (or chorizo)

1 egg

1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (or oven-roasted)

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted pistachios,  finely chopped

1/3 cup finely grated parmesan

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

What you need for the sauce:

1 small onion

1 large can pureed tomatoes

3 tablespoons butter

a little red wine (optional)

a rind from parmesan cheese (optional but amazing! save your rinds for this purpose!)

salt and pepper to taste

fresh basil, optional

What you do:

The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until you need it.  The whole recipe can be made ahead of time and reheated.  I think it`s even better the second time around.

1. Start the sauce first by simply emptying the can of tomatoes into a pot, then adding the butter and the cheese rind.  Put the whole onion into the pot – it will simmer to add flavour, and you will remove it at the end.

2. Bring the sauce to a low boil, and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.  Add a little red wine or water if it`s getting too thick.

3.  Remove the rind and the onion, and add salt, pepper, and the optional basil to taste.  If you think it needs it, you can add a little brown sugar to the tomato sauce.

4.  If you made the sauce ahead of time, heat it up in a large pot.

5.  Combine all the meatball ingredients together in a bowl. I mix it with my hands because I’m going to use my hands to make the meatballs anyways.  Don’t mix the meatball mixture too much, just until it is combined.

6. Drop the meatballs directly into the sauce, on a low simmer.  Try not to stir them until they’ve had some cooking time, so they solidify and won’t break as easily.  Spoon some sauce over the tops of the meatballs, so they are all covered.  Cook for at least half an hour, but preferably longer, until the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve on pasta, spaghetti squash, or on toothpicks as an appetizer.

Italian Wedding Soup

After a gorgeous summer of vacationing in very hot climates, I was a little shocked to come home to Vancouver’s fabulously moderate climate.  So shocked that in early September I had to make some soup to warm me up a little.  I started with a great homemade chicken stock, which makes all soups fabulous, then made up my version of Italian Wedding Soup.  I always thought it was called that because it was served at weddings, but I recently read that it is called that because greens and meat marry well together.  My version has turkey meatballs, because it seemed like a healthy thing to do.

Although I am lactose intolerant, I find the hard cheeses like parmesan aren’t too hard to tolerate, because they actually contain very little lactose.

What you need for the soup:

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 medium onion, chopped

olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into thin rounds

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup orzo pasta

1 bunch spinach, washed and roughly chopped

What you need for the meatballs:

400 grams ground turkey

2 tablespoon onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

a pinch of nutmeg

1 egg

What you do:

1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, then add the onion and cook it for a few minutes until it is softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the carrot and cook for a minute or two.  Add the broth and the bay leaf.  Bring this to a boil – you will add the raw meatballs to this broth.

2. Combine all the meatball ingredients and mix them together a little with your hands – don’t over-mix.  Form the mixture into small meatballs with your hands, about a teaspoon or smaller in size.  Drop the meatballs into the soup as you make them, making sure you keep it on a low boil as you go. Once all the meatballs are in, allow the soup to cook for about 10 minutes.

3.  Add the orzo to the pot of boiling soup, stirring from time to time.

4.  When the orzo is cooked through, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Now add the spinach and cook it briefly, until it wilts.

Buon appetito!

I had some of this soup for leftovers, and it was yummy, but the spinach wasn’t very green after the first serving.  If you plan to use it for leftovers, you might want to leave the spinach out, and add it when you reheat.