Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sicilian-Style Turkey Meatballs

There is something wonderful about the classic Sicilian combination of sweet dried currants or raisins, creamy and nutty toasted pine nuts, and fresh greens, like kale or spinach, that always makes my mouth water. In the summer, when the garden is brimming with fresh Swiss chard, I am always sautéing it with raisins and pine nuts.

Taking inspiration from my favorite summer dish, I've taken these same flavors and combined them with lean ground turkey in these Sicilian-style meatballs for a different twist on a dinnertime favorite. They are perfect to serve alone, as an appetizer, or atop a bowl of pasta tossed in a creamy goat cheese sauce.

If you don't have Swiss chard, you can also substitute in baby spinach, kale, or even herbs like parsley or cilantro. 

As published on The Daily Meal

1 pound ground light-meat turkey
1/2 large yellow onion, finely minced
1/3 cup Swiss chard, finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup raisins, chopped
1/3 cup breadcrumbs, preferably panko
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg
Olive oil, for cooking

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, onion, chard, nuts, raisins, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. Gently stir to combine. Add in the egg and, using your hands, mush together the meat, flavorings and eggs to create a somewhat homogenous mixture.

Using your hands, roll out 1-1 1/2-inch balls, placing them on a plate as you go.

Once all the meatballs have been formed, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a thin layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the meatballs. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning them as they cook. The meatballs are done when they are slightly firm to the touch and golden on all sides. Remove them from the pan and let them rest. Meanwhile, add a little bit more oil and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Serve attop a bowl of whole wheat pasta tossed with brown butter, or a creamy goat cheese sauce.

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