In an effort to cook healthy and be somewhat inventive, I decided to dream up my own meatball. I thought it would be a perfect night for homemade bread, spaghetti, and meatballs. Well, it was certainly a fun learning experience and also one of the first times I had seriously failed in awhile. My efforts started when I was milling around in my fridge to see what I could scrap into a Sunday dinner dish for one. I had meager supplies; 1/3 of an onion, half of a red bell pepper, some basil that was about to go bad, and 1 egg. Bread crumbs are a staple, and I’ve acquired enough spices recently that making a meatball seemed like a reality. A quick trip over to whole foods to grab some meat and I’d be all set.
I’m not usually a fan of ground turkey, but eating lean was the goal and after the weekend I had entertaining, drinking and dining out, I could afford to eat a little lighter. To add some flavor and fat content (for moisture) I mixed the ground turkey with 2 sweet Italian sausages. I would have preferred regular over sweet, but Whole Foods was out.
Here’s what I used:
- 1/2 lb Lean ground turkey
- 2 Italian sausages, removed from the casing
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup of cremini mushrooms, chopped and sautéed lightly
- ½ red pepper, brunois (1/8” x 1/8” x 1/8”) sweated
- ¼ onion, brunois, sweated
- 2 tbsp, basil, chiffonade
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp cayenne Pepper
- ½ tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 lb ground beef or equal parts light and dark meat ground turkey to add fat.
- 1 tbsp of cream
- a sprig of thyme
- maybe a 1tbsp of olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350*F
2. Sweat peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Toss in the garlic 30 seconds before taking off the heat.
2. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Best mixed with clean, bare hands.
3. Using a tablespoon, form 1″ meatballs and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for around 15-18 minutes.
This meatball was flavorful, but it was seriously dry. I thought the ingredients were spot on and the flavor profile worked, however there just wasn’t enough fat to give these meatballs the moisture they needed to combat the lean turkey. The next time I try this I will most certainly be using ground beef and sausage together or a more fat aggregate mixture of white and dark turkey meat. It was a fairly successful first try, but dry meat-anything is lack luster.
Between the Focaccia Bread and these meatballs, I gave myself a nice humble reality check. I researched why I thought I went wrong and I proved myself right; my fat ratio was off, it should have been 80/20 and I was probably somewhere around 90/10. I might have failed slightly, but at least I know why. Even though the end product wasn’t that great, it was still a successful recipe test. Hey, at least it photographed well!