Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Turkey Mushroom Meatballs in a (Spicy) Pepper Sauce


Sunday is pasta day. For the past few months I have been foregoing traditional pasta for things like zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or just a big ol' bowl of kale with sauce (because I can never eat too much kale!). Recently I have developed a bit of a thing for meatballs, and the past few weeks my Sunday dinner has involved nothing more than a pile of green veggies with meatballs.  It's a simple, easy to prepare, hearty, and just an oh-so-good meal that can't be beat!  I don't even miss pasta when these meaty balls of goodness are around.


The combination of turkey and mushrooms is outstanding with the flavor of fresh pepper sauce. Notice the picture above; I couldn't even wait until I was done photographing the meatballs to take a bite!  And I thought I hid it well...:) Now any sauce would be fine here because these meatballs are that good, however if you have some peppers laying around I highly recommend putting them to good use.

There is no need for flour or eggs to make a mean meatball.  If you get good quality meat that is not super lean, you only need a few ingredients to achieve a juicy, flavorful end product.  These meatballs are cooked in the sauce, ensuring they remain tender and making your life mush easier.  A tray of meatballs is a great idea for a holiday party, as they are bit-sized and always a crowd pleaser. If you roll them in some extra pecorino romano cheese, you have yourself a tray of snow-dusted goodies.  They say good food brings us together, I say great food can change lives!



Turkey Mushroom Meatballs

1-2 quarts homemade pepper sauce (using one japaleno pepper for a spicy sauce)*

1 lb ground organic turkey (not fat-free)
1 lb ground grass-fed beef (I used 93% lean), or more ground turkey
1 lb crimini mushrooms, washed and diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1/2 yellow onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2/3 cup pecorino romano cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

*you can also puree fresh peppers into any red sauce you have on hand using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender.

Directions:
1.  Add everything (except the sauce) to a large bowl.  Using your hands, mix the meat until everything is just incorporated.  Avoid over mixing as it will result in a hard meatball.
2.  Bring the sauce to a simmer in a pot (medium-low heat).  Shape the meatballs to the size of your choosing, rolling them gently in the palm of your hands to form them into a ball.  I usually use a melon scoop for mini-meatballs, and 1/4 c scoop for large ones.
3.  Once all the meatballs are formed, slowly add them to the simmering sauce.  It does not matter if some of the meatballs are not in the sauce.  Cover the pot and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Do not stir during this time!
4.  Check the meatballs after 10 minutes to see if they are sturdy enough to gently move around. When they are still raw, stirring them will leave you with bolognese sauce, however once the meatballs are cooked you can easily stir them.
5.  Serve warm and enjoy!