Spicy Turkey Balls
Food has the ability to transcend time and emotion. Certain meals, smells, and tastes can transport you and provide comfort. From the perspective of a nutritionist to be, having an emotional relationship with food and using it as a crutch is obviously a hazard, but for someone who loves to cook and enjoys food and sharing the eating experience, certain meals become staples in our repertoire for more reasons than great taste.
This is my go to recipe that is simple and comforting. By using ground white meat turkey instead of beef, veal, and/or pork, you create a leaner dish with a great deal less saturated fat. To insure moistness and flavor, I mixed the ground turkey meat with diced Bilinski’s all natural mild Italian, casing free, chicken sausage. The blend creates a nice texture to the meatball and adds a great flavor and a little fat.
Here is my recipe for a spicy and healthful version of turkey balls!
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 1/2 lb lean all natural hormone-free ground white meat turkey
- 1 package diced Bilinski’s all natural chicken sausage
- 2 1/4 cups chopped Spanish onions
- 1 head of garlic, diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp fennel seed
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 28 oz cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 16 oz thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup torn fresh basil
Toast fennel seeds, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper in a nonstick pan.
Remove from heat once you can smell the spices.
Mix diced sausages, turkey meat, egg, 3/4 cup of onion and 3 tablespoon of garlic in a metal bowl. Add 1/2 of the toasted spices, salt and pepper.
Form turkey balls to your size preference.
Heat a cast iron pan with 1 tbsp of canola oil and add the balls.
Cook the balls until the outside has a nice brown color, but the meat is not completely cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Remove the meat.
Add the rest of the canola oil, onion and garlic and deglaze the pan.
Add the peppers. Once the garlic, onion, and pepper have softened, add the tomato paste and the remaining toasted spices.
Once the paste has caramelized, add the red wine and let it reduce.
Add the two cans of tomatoes.
Bring the sauce to a boil and then down to a simmer.
Remove the sauce from the heat and blend using an emulsion blender. Blend the sauce until smooth.
Return the sauce to the heat and bring back to a simmer.
Add the balls back into the sauce, 1/2 the basil and allow the sauce to cook for at least an hour.
10 minutes before serving add the mushrooms.
Serve over your favorite whole-wheat pasta or vegetables and garish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, torn basil leaves and chili flakes.
For a spin on leftovers, I added the “aged” and more flavorful sauce and balls over steamed strips of kale.