Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

I’m running a bit late on my “celebration” of holidays. Here it is Memorial Day, and I’m just getting around to posting my Cinco de Mayo recipe. Sometimes life intervenes.

The recipe I’ve adapted here used ground pork. I didn’t have any. But, I did have ground turkey. Guess what? Turkey is totally Mexican. In fact, the turkey was the biggest domesticated animal (well, besides the dog) until the Europeans dropped pigs, horses, cattle, and sheep on North America. You can use whatever ground meat you have.

I don’t fry my meatballs. You can if you like. Baking them in a hot oven makes a lot less mess and requires no supervision so I prefer it to frying on the cooktop.

Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
(serves 4-6)

Meatballs
1 pound ground turkey (not extra-lean)
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup ground almonds
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

non-stick cooking spray

Sauce
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
½ green pepper, diced
½ red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
⅓ cup beef stock
¼ cup dry sherry
¼ teaspoon black pepper
salt
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Form mix into 1 ½” meatballs and place on the cookie sheet. Spray the meatballs with cooking spray (you can skip this step if using a fattier meat than turkey). Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Sauté the onion, peppers, and jalapeno for 5 minutes until the onion is golden. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Mix in the sugar, tomatoes, cayenne, sweet paprika, black pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer. Mix in the beef stock and sherry. Bring to a boil. Add the meatballs. When the sauce returns to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, uncovered, until sauce is thick. Add salt if necessary; you may not need any if your beef stock is salty. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve over rice or pasta. Also good served as an appetizer sprinkled with a bit of mozzarella cheese.

Recipe adapted from The Book of Mexican Foods by Christine Barrett, HP Books, 1991.

Photo credit: By കാക്കര (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Author: worldplatterblog

I blog about food, travel, and anything else tangentially related to food that piques my interest. I have a degree in Culinary Arts and in Operations Research (it's math). That means I'm pretty analytical and love science, but I also love art. Food is a strange place where science intersects art in continually changing ways. I love writing about all of it.

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