Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ghost Meatballs

Somebody in the Minx household has high triglycerides, so we're cutting back on red meat a bit and trying to eat more lean protein, like tofu and turkey. And you all know how much I love turkey. [gag] The things one does for love, huh?

Because this person is a pasta fiend, and spaghetti and meatballs can NOT be removed from the dinner repertoire, I thought it would be healthier to make turkey meatballs instead of using the usual triumvirate of beef, pork, and veal. To keep them moist, we employed a technique learned from watching America's Test Kitchen: mashing bread and milk together to create a mushy substance known as a panade. This both moisturizes the meat and coats the proteins so they don't bind together tightly, acting rather like the fat in other types of meat. Fat also acts to enhance flavor, so turkey meatballs need to be seasoned well.

A turkey meatball will never be as tender and juicy as one made from other animal proteins; increasing the amount of panade might help a bit, but as with a crab cake, you don't want to notice the breading. This recipe makes about 10-12 balls with a nice meaty flavor (ok, they taste like turkey), but that are scarily white on the insides, like ghost meatballs. If you like, you can add some chopped herbs to the meat mixture - basil and parsley would be nice - but then they might look like moldy ghosts. :)


Simple Turkey Meatballs

2 slices white or wheat bread
2 tablespoons milk
1.5 lb ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Moisten bread with milk, mashing with a fork to create a homogeneous paste. Mix with turkey, garlic, egg, and Parmesan, plus salt and pepper to taste. Form into balls, about 1.5" in diameter (mixture will be quite moist) and brown on all sides in a bit of canola or olive oil.

Serve with pasta and your favorite sauce. Serves 4.

Note: these actually taste better - and seem moister - after sitting in the fridge a few days.

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.