I mentioned this recipe in my last post about the Apple + Turkey Burgers. I love these Turkey Meatballs. I’ve made this one a few times and each time it evolves into something even better than the last time. Tonight, I found the winning combination and I share it below.
Turkey mince is such a lovely texture. It has a reasonably high fat content which keeps it really moist when cooking and it melts in the mouth when done. It also seems to help it stick together in my experience. Beef mince usually calls for eggs and breadcrumbs to stop it falling apart when you’re cooking it, but Turkey mince doesn’t seem to need all the added extras. Its also a flavour that is complimented by dried spices but needs minimal added flavour combinations to really shine. My recommendation, get experimenting with it!
This recipe also has a lovely tomato sauce that compliments the flavours. You could however, just make the meatballs and serve them as an entree or canapé with a dipping sauce. Not something I’ve tried yet, but there is a lot of potential there. Along with the tomato sauce, the original recipe which came from Ambitious Kitchen includes Burrata which is a creamy, hand knotted cheese that is similar to a large Bocconcini Ball. When you cut it, the outside skin is the texture of Mozzarella but inside resembles that of creamy cottage cheese. It is delicious and mildly salty, given the brine that it is sold in. It melts perfectly in the sauce, its oozy and gooey and just downright lovely. You could use a large bocconcini in its place with out much sacrifice in flavour but the texture of the Burrata is a little silkier and stays melted for longer as the meal cools, so is nicer looking on your fork and feels nicer in your mouth.
I had never heard of Burrata before, so had originally just used the large Bocconcini thinking it was the same thing with a different name! I was trawling the isles of Woolworths one day and found a heap of Burrata containers on sale, half price so I grabbed a few and some Turkey mince and gave the recipe another whirl and it was worth the purchase. I often find its on sale when they have it in stock, so it makes this recipe that bit cheaper.
This recipe would work perfectly with spaghetti or your favourite pasta, but we eat them on their own. 4-5 of the meatballs is sufficient for an adult sized portion, I make them about the diameter of a 50c piece. What size you roll them to is up to you though. At that size, they only take 15 minutes to cook in the oven before adding them to the sauce. Creamy Polenta would be another scrumptious bed of yumminess that would work well with this.
Enough jibber jabber, here is the recipe.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
500g Turkey Mince
1 Tsp dried oregano, ground
5-6 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 Tsp cumin, ground
1 Tsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tsp chilli flakes
Place all of this in a medium sized mixing bowl, I add the mince in first then just throw the herbs in on top. Theres not a whole lot of need to measure these out tightly, if there is a flavour that you really like among them, add a little more if it floats your boat. I tend the vary the amount of oregano each time as I have it dried in the pantry from our garden and just love how fragrant it is when I crush between my fingers into a recipe and have trouble using the prescribed amount as a result, it always ends up about double!
Get in there with your hands and massage it all around. As with the Apple + Turkey Burgers, a spoon is not of much help to incorporate the added ingredients so get in a get your hands dirty.
Once well mixed, pull out small handfuls and roll into balls. Place the balls on a large, flat baking tray lined with baking paper. Pop them in the oven and set your timer to 15 minutes. If you make them smaller than I was talking about above, then reduce your time to 10 minutes. Its hard to go wrong here as they’ll be added to the hot tomato sauce at the end anyway so if a little undercooked, that should take care of it.
While they’re cooking, whip up this yummy, spicy tomato sauce.
Tomato Sauce with Burrata
750ml bottle of Passata
4-5 large basil leaves, chopped finely
1-2 Tsp dried oregano, ground
1/2 Tsp chilli flakes
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 Tsp soft brown sugar
2 Tbsp chopped dried porcini mushrooms (optional, but great flavour boost)
1 Large large ball of Burrata, approx. 100g sliced thickly
In a large pan, sauté the onion in a few Tbsp olive oil for a few minutes on medium heat until soft then add the passata and stir through. This needs to happen before the onions start to brown, you want them to be soft and moist. Once the tomato sauce is in there, add all the other ingredients aside from the Burrata.
Turn down to a simmer, give a stir every now and then and when the meatballs are finished baking add them gently to the pan, evenly spaced. Between them, place the slices of Burrata into the sauce so that it melts. Once melted, serve into bowls either on their own 4-5 per person or atop your favourite pasta or creamy polenta. Make sure each person gets enough of the tomato sauce and don’t be stingy on serving up the cheese either!
Enjoy, you’ll certainly be coming back to make this again.
Credits to Monique at Ambitious Kitchen for the original recipe that this has been adapted from.