18 May 2011

This is a versatile recipe that is perfect for parties, but can also be made for dinner.  It's an adaptation of one I saw in EveryDay with Rachael Ray this month.  The meatballs are super flavorful on their own, but then they're coated in a sweet peanut sauce that will knock your socks off.

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Peanut Sauce

1 lb. lean ground turkey 
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs 
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, grated 
1 tsp salt 
¼ cup peanut butter 
2 tbsp soy sauce 
3 tbsp sugar 
½ tbsp sesame oil 
2½ tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame seeds 

Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine turkey, cilantro, breadcrumbs, shallot, garlic, and salt; roll into 1 tbsp. balls.  Place balls on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, and oils in a microwave-safe bowl.  Warm in microwave about 30 seconds.  Toss meatballs with half of sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

Serve on toothpicks with remaining sauce for dipping.

Makes 24 meatballs.

I cannot even tell you how good these are.  I think I could eat these every day!  And they were relatively easy to make.  I kind of shy away from meatball recipes because it's kind of labor intensive to roll each one out and make sure they are roughly the same size, which I am never good at.  Then trying to cook them through in the skillet always gives me problems because they either fall apart when I try to turn them, or I don't turn them correctly and they end up being anything but round.  But these were easy.  I like how the directions said to make each ball 1 tbsp in size.  That made it easy for me to make sure they were uniform.  

The recipe did call for cooking them in the skillet, but I needed the skillet for my side dish, and because of the problems mentioned above, I decided to try baking them in the oven instead.  I see it done on tv all the time, so I thought I would give it a try.  That worked perfectly and was SO much more easy than doing them on the stove top.  The bottoms got a little flat where they were sitting, but overall they were quite round.  And none of them fell apart.

The original recipe also called for chicken, but I had turkey on hand so that's what I used.  The only other thing I changed about the meatballs themselves was that the shallot was supposed to be grated onion.  For some reason, I tend to use shallot instead of regular onion in Asian recipes.

I did change a couple of things with the peanut sauce and garnish.  The peanut sauce was supposed to have 3 tbsp of sesame oil and no olive oil, but as I mentioned the other day, I find the flavor of sesame oil to be really strong, and I didn't want it to overpower the sauce, so I scaled it way back.  The sesame seeds were supposed to be chopped peanuts, but we like sesame seeds a lot better and I think they look really cute that way.

Here are the raw meatballs getting ready to hit the oven.  I am surprised how uniform I got them!

 All cooked.  I let them go about 5 minutes longer than I needed to, I think.  But they were still good.  That's the nice thing about coating them in sauce; it covers up pretty much any mistake!

I served these with my Cilantro Noodles.  The pairing of the sweet meatballs and the salty noodles was amazing.  Plated this way, it looks like an Asian version of Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Jim said that I absolutely have to take these to the next party we are invited to.  And if we don't have any parties coming up, he would invent one just so we can eat these again soon!

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