Introduction: Cherry Stuffed Meatballs

Turkey meatballs with a surprise inside.

Step 1: Season Meat

Combine the following:

Ingredients
2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 c bread crumbs (the dry canned ones)
2 eggs
few cloves garlic, grated (to your taste; I used around 8 big cloves)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
1/2t teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (or thereabouts)
lemon zest
pinch dried thyme, oregano, basil, allspice, etc

Other potential ingredients: parmesan cheese, hot peppers, finely chopped fresh herbs

Mush the ingredients together in a big bowl, then find some dried cherries.

I used dried bing cherries from Trader Joe's, but just about any dried cherries will do so long as they're not overly sweet.

Step 2: Form Meatballs

I went for roughly golf ball sized meatballs; pick your favorite size. If you make them much bigger, consider putting multiple cherries in the middle.

There are two standard techniques:
1) gather up half the meatball, add the cherry, then add the other half of the meatball.
2) gather up enough turkey for the entire meatball, then squish the cherry inside and cover the hole.

I used technique 1, as shown below. Either way, make sure to make nice, tightly-squished meatballs.

Step 3: Pan Fry

Pan fry the meatballs in a bit of canola oil, turning them to brown on all sides.

You're not cooking them all the way through; just browning the exterior.

Fish out and save the crispy bits that fall off in cooking- they're fantastically tasty.

Step 4: Bake

Add your pan fried meatballs to a canola-oil-sprayed pan, and stick them in the oven at 400F.

They shouldn't take too long to cook- check after 10-15 minutes, or when the oil on the bottom starts popping. Test by cutting into a large meatball; when the internal meat isn't pink, they're done.

Step 5: Cook Onions & Mushrooms

While the meatballs bake, prepare something to keep them company. Pasta and sauce will do nicely, but so will a bed of onions and mushrooms. They fit a bit better into my theory of nutrition, so that's what we had for dinner.

Slice 2-3 onions into reasonably thin (~1/4") thick half-rings, and add to the pot. Slice a large handful (or two) of mushrooms, and add them as well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of ancho chili powder if you're a fan.

Saute until onions soften, adding more oil if necessary to prevent onions from burning. When they start to stick, deglaze the pan with marsala (or sherry or any other booze you've got open). Work the marsala around the pan with your wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the fond (the crispy burned-on bits from the meatballs) back up and into the onion mixture.

Cook until everything is nicely caramelized and the liquid has cooked off, which will probably be the same time the meatballs are ready to come out of the oven.

Step 6: Serve

I piled up the onion/mushroom mixture in a pasta-like way, topped with the meatballs hot out of the oven. Be careful- they're a little steamy inside, and it's easy to burn your mouth.

If you're serving with a more traditional pasta and sauce, you can either mix the meatballs in or serve everything separately. Everything should be hot or at least warm. The flavors mingle well overnight, so the meatballs make excellent leftovers.

With the addition of a toothpick, these meatballs would make a fine finger food for buffets.

Comments

author
Laura Rebecca (author)2008-04-21

These look really great. It might be tasty to swap out the cherries for dried cranberries, too.

author
trebuchet03 (author)2007-02-15

Out of curiosity, because I've never made meatballs from scratch, how would I make these in a slow cooker... I just don't want them to fall apart :)

author

To make meatballs in a slow cooker, you need to brown them first. End of story. Dust them with flour, or not, and fry them (in small batches). Then (using a slotted spoon) throw them in the slow-cooker (sauce already hot), top with the lid, wash your skillet, and man will those suckers be amazing in a coupla hours. You can follow canida's simmering soup recipe - make sure the soup is simmering actively. It works well - but meatballs dropped into soup will be softer than the seared-then-slowcooked ones. Man. I am wishing I wasn't a vegetarian. I miss meatballs tons, hence I've looked at them twice today online. ;-)

author

So that's how they do it :p Thanks :)

author
canida (author)trebuchet032007-02-15

I don't really use slow cookers, so can't say anything terribly useful. I'd be worried about them falling apart too. Most of my meatball experience says to cook them individually, and only add them to a liquid or sauce very late in the game. However, I've dumped small raw meatballs directly into simmering soup pots before to good effect; this presumably worked because 1) they didn't cook terribly long, and 2) the simmering soup kept them from sticking to the bottom or each other and turning into mush. Hopefully someone else will have slow-cooker insight.

author
trebuchet03 (author)canida2007-02-16

I guess it wouldn't hurt to experiment :) If all goes "wrong" -- I'll make a meat sauce :)

author
Kintri (author)2007-05-09

hi i recently tried making IKEA style swedish meatballs but I don't get the same texture. Is it because I only fried them and didn't bake them after browning? Is there a difference if you bake them?

author
fungus amungus (author)2007-02-15

Looks tasty. That fork reflection is really hot and distracts from the savory picture.

author
canida (author)fungus amungus2007-02-15

Better?

author
fungus amungus (author)canida2007-02-17

Yeah. Look at that yummy food!

author
Crash2108 (author)2007-02-16

I like where you're going with the fork action. You could probably do some pro shit. You should keep the fork centered in the shot, though.

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