After spending a summer in New York subsisting on microwaved veggie burgers and chicken nuggets, I finally admitted to myself that it was time to learn how to cook meat. A year later, I found myself back in the city with a bigger kitchen and a sudden fear of frozen foods, thanks to a wave of Listeria-induced recalls that June.
Still dreading the slime of raw fat and gristle, I alternated between precooked meatballs and extra-firm tofu for as long as I could stand the monotony. Bruce Aidell’s teriyaki meatballs were my favorite: sweet, flavorful, and easily paired with the raw carrots that are a constant in my fridge. I left meatballs, however, behind when I at last transitioned into preparing raw chicken and salmon.
This fall, spotting ground turkey at the local supermarket, I realized that meatballs would perfectly encompass the leftover ingredients from my New York Times chicken shawarma. My friend Erin Deleon ’17 and I made a batch together, only to discover that meatballs demand far more spice than you’d expect. The recipe below represents my second attempt at home-cooked meatballs, whose seasoning my roommate pronounced “intriguingly complex.” So if you’re looking for moist, rich meatballs with minimal touching of raw turkey, give these a try!
1 pound ground turkey
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. carrot-ginger soup (pureed carrot and fresh ginger)
4 tbsp. flour, approx. (add last, to achieve desired consistency)
Grated cheddar, to taste
Grated parmesan, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
1. Chop onion, garlic, and parsley and fold into ground turkey until evenly distributed.
2. Add spices, carrot soup, and egg, and mix thoroughly.
3. Stir in flour in 1 tbsp. intervals until the mixture is firm enough to roll into balls. Grate in cheddar and parmesan.
4. Roll turkey mixture into 3/4-inch diameter balls (or smaller, if desired).
5. Heat olive oil until gently steaming. Sautée meatballs until cooked through.
6. Serve warm, preferably with spinach and pasta.