Watching "Chopped" on the Food Network last week, I heard the winner refer to the ground turkey in his basket as an "inferior product." And in fact, all of the chefs ended up with a dry final product once their first round dishes were complete. If you don't count the guy who added a stick of butter to his pound of turkey in order to make turkey "galettes." (whatever you're thinking right now, I was thinking the same thing...LOL!) I would also like to mention that this particular episode ticked me off b/c the show gave the chefs CELERY in their dessert ingredients. Really? WTH? But, I digress.........
Back to the subject at hand-- I'm not normally a ground turkey eater. Chicken is my poultry of choice. But, when I tripped across some turkey on sale recently, the Chopped challenge flashed in my mind and I thought I would take it on myself.
This budget turkey find had been languishing in the freezer for a little while, until I received the most recent Gourmet mag. It had a recipe for chicken meatballs that I decided to riff off of-- instead of Italian bread, I used whole grain (skim milk), instead of pancetta I used regular hard wood smoked bacon and of course instead of chicken I used turkey.
It was nice to have all these simple ingredients on hand to make such a tasty dish! I served these with a stripped down, single-note tomato sauce since all of the flavor is in the meat and I wouldn't want to upstage or overwhelm it. Nothing earth shatteringly creative, but then again, most of the tastiest things aren't! ;) Moist, juicy & delicious....take that, Chopped!
Tasty Turkey Meatball
3 oz. bacon (3 strips), cut into small pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch salt & pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 slices (1 cup) whole grain bread, torn into pieces
1/3 c. milk
1 egg, beaten in separate bowl
1 lb. ground turkey
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine bread and milk, let sit for a few minutes, until bread has completely absorbed the milk.
Cook bacon, onion, S&P and garlic over medium heat in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until onion is soft and translucent (approx 5 minutes). Let cool for a minute or so (I put it in a bowl and stuck it in the freezer b/c I am impatient!)
Combine poultry, bread, egg, bacon/onion mixture and parsley loosely with finger tips. Form into 12 meatballs, placed on a sheet pan coated w/non-stick spray.
Combine tomato paste and remaining 1 tbsp of oil. With fingertips & the help of a small spoon, lightly rub paste mixture over the tops of the meatballs. Distribute evenly.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until cooked through!