Introduction: Cherry Stuffed Meatballs
Turkey meatballs with a surprise inside.
Step 1: Season Meat
Combine the following:
2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 c bread crumbs (the dry canned ones)
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)
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.
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