Friday, November 29, 2013
Turkey-Apple Swedish Meatballs
There was a week or so this month where I went on strike. I was sick of the complaints from my family every time I went to cook some sort of vegetarian delight. I do the planning, the shopping, the cooking, and the cleaning, and sometimes I feel underappreciated. I know I probably sound like 80% of women around the world, but this was my first time that the whining seriously ticked me off (rough week at work), so I went on strike. My family had to fend for themselves, and thus had a night of meatloaf, some chili, and basically went out to eat every other night. I finally started feeling bad for them (not to mention hungry) and ended my strike with this dish: meatballs. With actual meat. Very unusual for me, I know, but I actually had bribed Nick to go get groceries for me if I promised to make him Swedish meatballs. These ones intrigued me - they were in my October issue of Food Network Magazine - because they also included apple and were made of ground turkey rather than beef; ground beef just horrifies me. So, away we go with actual meat meatballs. No lentils, no quinoa. Truce?
The things that make these meatballs different from your average Swedish meatballs (besides the grated apple and turkey) are the fact that the breadcrumbs you use are from pumpernickel bread. They get blended with Worcestershire sauce and milk to make a paste that then gets combined with some sautéed shallots, apples, garlic, and cinnamon. The meat and egg get added in last (don't worry; I wore gloves) and then you make the meatballs. I tried to make mine extra small so there would be more of them, and who wants a giant bite of meat anyway?!
The meatballs get baked for 15-20 minutes, while you work on the gravy. What got a bit dicy was that after the balls bake, you pop them into the gravy and cook them the rest of the way there. I felt like there wasn't enough gravy to cook 36 meatballs in (and I think I even had more than 36!) and they started falling apart a little. I told everyone to enjoy their meat sauce since many of the meatballs had disappeared! I think if I made these again, I would use a much bigger saucepan and maybe double the gravy.
I decided to serve them over egg noodles due to the fact that we had about 4 bags of them in the cabinet for reasons unknown. The end result was a lot of very family members. I was kind of hoping they'd hate them and beg for eggplant meatballs, or vegetarian meatballs, but unfortunately it didn't happen and everyone was raving about them. Nick said they were the best meatballs he ever had. I tried the gravy over the noodles and even I had to admit that it had a really great flavor. All traces of them were gone by the next day. Ugh. Carnivores: can't live with them, can't live without them.
turkey-apple Swedish meatballs
from the October issue of Food Network Magazine
serves 6 (about 36 small meatballs)
for the meatballs:
3 cups packed torn pumpernickel bread
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 small shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of ground cinnamon
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 3/4 pounds lean ground turkey
1 large egg
for the gravy:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
mashed potatoes or egg noodles for serving
chopped fresh parsley and/or chives, for serving
1) Make the meatballs: pulse the bread in a food processor to make fine crumbs. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and pulse to make a paste. Set aside.
2) Heat the butter and vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add the shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the apple, garlic, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook until the apple is tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumb mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely.
3) Add the turkey and egg to the bowl and beat with a mixer on low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
4) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Dampen your hands and form the meat mixture into 36 balls (about 1 inch each). Arrange on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, make the gravy: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to make a smooth paste, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, then add the Worcestershire sauce. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer until firm and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles and top with parsley and/or chives.