Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Meatballs with Pan Dripping Gravy

I thought that I would begin detailing out the different items that I made for the Fall Party over the weekend with the one that made the biggest splash, and the one that was the easiest to make.  It should come as no surprise that I love turkey meat. This is evidenced here, here, here, here, and here! It is lean, it is tasty, it takes on other flavors really very nicely, and it's a cinch to prepare!  With all of this in mind, and since Thanksgiving (my very favorite holiday) is just around the corner, I thought that Thanksgiving Meatballs would be a really fun and easy hors d'ouerve.

I used 93/7 lean turkey meat. The 93/7 refers to the lean vs fat ration in the package-so here I had 93% lean meat mixed with just 7% fat.  The fat definitely adds a little moisture and a lot of flavor to the meat, so I think that a little is just fine.

1 lb ground turkey meat
1 1/2 tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 small apple, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic (or to your liking)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp fennel seed
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
1 egg
1 -2 cups breadcrumbs

Gravy Dipping Sauce
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp flour
chicken stock
dried sage
ground garlic powder
salt and pepper

In small bowl combine the dry ingredients for the meat balls listed above, with the chopped fruits and garlic.  In a separate plastic container, place the turkey meat, and crack the egg into this container.  Add the bread crumb mixture a little at a time, combining as you go until the turkey meat is the right consistency. It should still be somewhat wet, able to hold shape, but with enough visible breadcrumbs.  

Once the breadcrumbs are fully incorporated into the meat, form small balls, about an inch in diameter between your hands.  Heat a large non stick skillet pan with a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom.  Add the turkey meatballs to the skillet, and turn to brown on each side.  I finished these off in a 400 degree oven once they were equally browned on each side, for a faster cooking process.

Remove the meatballs from the pan, set the pan back over medium heat, and de glaze the plan with the butter.  While the butter melts, use a wooden or rubber utensil to scrape up the leftover particles from the meatball cooking process.  What remains on the bottom of the pan are bits of apple and garlic that will add fantastic flavor to your gravy.  Once the butter is completely melted and the bottom of the pan clean, start to add your flour to the pan.  Add only a little at a time, and whisk while doing so to cover all of the flour particles with the grease.  Continue to add flour until the roux reaches the consistency you desire- it shouldn't be so thick that it stands in peaks like little mountains in the bottom of your pan, but it shouldn't be lakes of runny liquid either.  Once it reaches that in between stage-start to add the chicken stock.  Continue using your whisk to blend the roux with the stock, again until the desired consistency of gravy.  Do so slowly, it's much more difficult to make the gravy thicker, but easier to continue to thin it.  Once it's reached the right consistency, flavor with the herbs and spices to your liking.  (Please excuse the lack of photos here- while it isn't hard work- it did take both of my hands and photos were neglected) 

These little babies were totally delicious.  They had great flavor and texture from the cranberries and apples, and the pan dripping gravy dipping sauce really brought it all home.  The best part is that the meatballs, ok without the gravy, were actually really quite good for you, and just the gravy added that decadence of Thanksgiving.  I might have to whip up a batch or two of these just to mow down on during a Football game during the next couple of weeks!  Perfect noshing food!

Don't forget to enter my Le Creuset give away!  A roasting pan valued at $150.00! 


Delicious Dishings said...

Love it! They sound incredible. I really like the idea of packing all those Thanksgiving flavors into a meatball.

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

These look amazing! I loved that you added apple to these meatballs, very season appropriate!

Meesh said...

Wow these would make a great Thanksgiving appetizer!

Officially bookmarked to be part of the Thanksgiving menu! done and done.

Anonymous said...

Straight to the point and well written! Why can’t everyone else be like this?

Anonymous said...

Very good stuff.

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...