Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs
Posted on November 01, 2016
When your Thanksgiving crowd is a cozy group of two to four
people instead of a house full of guests, roasting an entire bird might not
seem as enticing an endeavor. After all, there is only so much leftover turkey a
household of one or two can consume after the festivities are over. If you
can’t bear to completely remove turkey from the menu, roasting just the breast or
even a whole chicken can be a good compromise. But, if you’re open to trying something
more unconventional that still pairs well with the classic side dishes, look no
further than the following recipe for Thanksgiving turkey meatballs.
In addition to being made with easy-to-find ground turkey (no
advance preordering needed), these meatballs are braised in a simple
three-ingredient sweet and sour cranberry glaze. This two-in-one deal means you
don’t have to set out an additional bowl of cranberry sauce, unless, of course,
you want to.
These meatballs are prepared in a manner similar to making
meatloaf—the ground turkey is bound with a mixture of bread crumbs (in this
case, panko), egg and milk—to ensure a plush and tender texture. Dried thyme,
fennel powder, dried onion and garlic powder infuses the meat with a savory
flavor base that enhances each bite. Unlike with whole roast turkey, here, there’s
no risk of bland or dried-out turkey meat.
Making the cranberry glaze is almost as easy as opening a
can of cranberry sauce: blend together orange marmalade, cranberries and
chicken broth until smooth. Once the meatballs have been formed, simply brown
them and braise directly in the cranberry glaze. This two-step process takes
about 15 minutes, opening up more time for the preparation of other dishes or
simply enjoying time with your guests.
Should you have any leftovers, the meatballs can be eaten
again the next day either with pasta, inside a hoagie roll, or with any
remaining side dishes from the day before. For a different spin that can be
enjoyed any time of the year, try cooking the meatballs in tomato sauce, brown
gravy, mustard-cream sauce, or added to a vegetable-pasta soup. Or, make them
exactly as directed whenever you crave a taste of Thanksgiving, even when the
holiday is long over!
Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze
The turkey mixture will be somewhat loose and sticky, so do
not attempt to form it into meatballs using your bare hands. Be sure to handle
the meatballs gently when transferring them from the plate to the pan, and
again when turning them. Putting up with these minor inconveniences will yield
meatballs that are tender and juicy.
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
2 Tbs. olive oil
1. Place the marmalade, cranberries and chicken broth in a
blender and blend on medium-high until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, stir together the panko, milk, egg, thyme,
fennel, onion powder, salt, garlic powder and pepper until combined. Let sit 2
to 3 minutes. Add the turkey and mix until well incorporated. Using a cookie
scoop or 2 spoons, form the mixture into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter (scant
3 Tbs. each). Place on a large plate.
3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick
skillet. Add the meatballs and sear until browned, about 5 minutes, turning the
meatballs over halfway through cooking.
4. Pour the cranberry mixture into the skillet and bring to
a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the meatballs are
cooked through and the glaze has reduced, about 10 minutes, turning the
Serves 4 (Makes 12 meatballs).
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