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Turkey and Caramelized Onion Meatballs

Makes 16 large (2 oz.) or 50-ish mini meatballs (“polpettine”)

Note: I don’t use dried herbs in these meatballs because I like to keep them ethnicity neutral. Doing so allows me to use them in red sauce, asian soups, and Mediterranean recipes throughout the week. If using in a red sauce, you can add 1/2 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp dried oregano to the turkey mixture.

  • 2 lbs ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
  • 2/3 cups caramelized onions
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • grapeseed oil

Mix all the ingredients but the oil in a large bowl until just combined. Overmixing will make meatballs tough. Roll meat into your desired sized meatballs (I use a 1/4 measuring cup for 2 oz. meatballs and a tablespoon for polpettine). Coat the bottom of a 12 inch non-stick pan* with grapeseed oil and place over medium high heat. Toss a little piece of meat into pan to gauge oil temperature. Oil is ready when it bubbles around meat. Using tongs, gently add meatballs one by one to pan, giving each meatball a light jostle so that it doesn’t stick to the pan immediately. Don’t overcrowd the pans. Once all meatballs are in the pan, swirl the pan gently so that meatballs continue to stay unstuck from the bottom of the surface. Repeat as necessary. When the first meatball surface is browned, flip to brown another side. Repeat as necessary. Using a meat thermometer, remove meatballs when they reach 165 degrees (about 10 minutes for large meatballs, and 5-7 for polpettine). Alternatively, you can sear the meatballs in the pan, then transfer them to a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper, and finish them in a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes (time will depend on meatball size).

*If you don’t have a 12 inch non-stick pan, you can cook meatballs in 2 batches in a smaller pan. Simply discard the oil and wipe out (carefully) with a clean paper towel after preparing the first batch.

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