Weekend Food Prep–Baked Italian Turkey Meatballs

I choose to not eat red meat, so I’m often replacing ground beef or pork with ground turkey. The downsides to substituting turkey in recipes with red meat are twofold–first, the ground turkey seems to be wetter, making it harder to use the Maillard reaction to increase the wonderful umami flavor of browned meats. Secondly, ground turkey is leaner, and it can cook up dry and dense if overhandled. I address both of these issues in this recipe. By baking the meatballs, they can be cooked long enough to cook off the moisture and allowed to brown. The cheese and onions help make a more complex flavor. To improve their texture, I gently mix the meat mixture and then form them without packing them into tight balls. An ice cream scoop does this job efficiently and creates evenly sized servings.

Baked Italian Turkey Meatballs

one. Sauté in a medium skillet until translucent:
1 tbs. or so mild oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion

two. Combine in a large mixing bowl, gently stirring them together just until well-distributed:
the cooked onions
2 well-beaten eggs
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
3 lbs 93% lean ground turkey (or a mix of 93% and ground turkey breast)
2 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tsp. each dried oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes

three. Using a 4 oz. ice cream scoop or a large spoon, form 24 meatballs.

four. Arrange the meatballs on a large, lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350oF until cooked through completely and browned on top, about 40 minutes.

Yields 8 servings of 3 meatballs each.

Image description: A baking sheet with about 20 meatballs baked onto it.

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