meatballs

From time to time Shane and I watch Chopped together.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s a show on the Food Network where chefs are essentially given baskets containing several ingredients (usually very odd combinations) which must all be used to make a dish that will be judged.  On one episode ground turkey was among the ingredients and one of the contestants went on a rant about what an absolutely awful, flavorless ingredient it was – he was truly disgusted to find it in the basket.  We laughed then, and it’s sort of become a running joke in our house, because we happen to really enjoy ground turkey and eat it fairly often.  It’s versatile and relatively healthy, what’s not to like?   

meatballs

Since we always have ground turkey in the freezer, I’ve constantly got my eye out for new recipes we can make to keep things interesting.  I bookmarked this one over on Cookin’ Canuck a few weeks ago and adapted it just slightly for a quick and delicious dinner one night recently.  I omitted the onions from the meatballs and subbed panko for regular breadcrumbs.  Dara used five-spice powder in her version, but I never have that on hand so I grabbed allspice instead.  It works in a pinch.  The teriyaki sauce was very flavorful; it made me wish I’d served the meatballs over rice so the rice could soak up all of the saucy goodness.  I like my pasta lightly sauced, but when it comes to rice, I say the more sauce the better :)  This is definitely a recipe to stick in your file for nights when you’re short on time but still want to make a tasty meal at home.  Thanks Dara!

Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
adapted slightly from Cookin’ Canuck

Meatballs
1 1/4 lb. ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray with cooking spray.

Add all of the ingredients for the meatballs to a large bowl and use your hands to combine until evenly distributed – try not to overmix.  Using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture (I just eyeballed it), form the meatballs by rolling the mixture into a ball in your hands.  Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

To make the sauce: Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small pan and place over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.  

When the meatballs have finished cooking, remove them from the oven and brush liberally with the sauce then return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Serve with remaining sauce.