A couple of Sundays ago the temperature hovered in the upper 80’s with 90 percent humidity and a lousy pollen count! Instead of thinking of a cool salad and an even cooler glass of iced tea, I had visions of succulent meatballs and luscious sauce dancing around in my head, kind of like those sugar plums at Christmas time! The source of my obsession was a food blog called French Revolution, describing “tender turkey meatballs.”
What attracted me was an ingredient that I would never have associated with meatballs, herbs de Provence, commonly used in French cuisine. Feel free to substitute Italian seasoning if you just can’t imagine this taste in a meatball. I chose to be adventurous and my reward was some of the most delicious meatballs that I’d ever tasted!
Wanting to stay at least somewhat loyal to summer and the abundance of zucchini, I did grill some to add to the dish (see the photo below).
1 pound ground turkey (I used 97% fat free lean)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I used panko, instead)
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons water
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until just combined, be careful not to over mix or the meatballs will become tough. Form the mixture into meatballs - the pound of ground turkey yielded 9 meatballs for me - and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a saute pan with tomato sauce (recipe follows) and simmer covered for 25 minutes.
It’s not clear to me that you can have meatballs without sauce. The original recipe suggested using a jarred sauce and that would be fine however, consider this recipe by Marcella Hazan. It is super simple and a surprise in terms of the ingredients. You can view the original recipe on Food 52 or simply Google her website. This is my version of this incredible sauce inspired by Marcella Hazan. Since I found this recipe, I use it almost exclusively. It’s great on homemade pizza, lasagna, etc. It is also adaptable, you can always add other ingredients to suit your own taste.
2 28 ounce cans of peeled Italian Tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion cut in half
5 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium/low heat….stirring occasionally for approximately 45 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
These meatballs are also wonderful served over pasta for a more traditional take on Sunday Meatballs.