Sunday, September 07, 2008

Turkey and Basil Meatballs with Peppers sautéed in Red Wine, or Chicken Broth

Yesterday I did a volunteer chef demonstration for the Saturday morning Athens Farmers' Market. The dishes, made entirely on site and almost completely from local produce for sale there, were Summer-Fall Sautéed Butternut over Jalapeño-Wine-Cheese Grits (the recipes are in my blog postings of 9/6/08 and 8/23/08). A number of farmers contributed ingredients -- including grits milled in Athens between stone grinding wheels turned by a red mule. A red mule named Luke, no less. I was given additional vegetables by the farmers at the nearby booths. Last evening I used some for a meal when my grandson August stayed with us.

Basil is still plentiful (I just put out a recipe for pesto to use some of it -- see blog posting of 9/4/08), and I had plenty left from the Farmers' Market. I was also given some wonderful sweet red 'heritage' frying peppers by one of the farmers. Using ground turkey from the supermarket, I made, and August and I rolled, meatballs with plenty of basil in them and finished sautéing them with the frying peppers plus red wine. I served them with a side of vermicelli pasta tossed with a fresh marinara sauce (see blog posting of 8/7/06) and grated Romano cheese. As accompaniment we had a salad of peeled sliced cucumbers, also the excess of the season, with the luscious Greek 'Fage' yogurt, sea salt, freshly grated black pepper, and a little white wine vinegar.

The recipe serves six, when accompanied by a pasta dish. While most of the crew eating last evening did not have wine, a dry red from almost any grape would pair fairly well with the meatballs.

Turkey and Basil Meatballs with Peppers sautéed in Red Wine Tim

2 pounds ground turkey
24 medium-sized basil leaves, finely chopped
8 tablespoons quick-style oatmeal
3 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt plus some for frying
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons canola or olive oil for frying
3 large red (sweet) frying peppers or 2 medium red bell peppers
1/2 cup red wine (or chicken broth)

Using all except the oil, red peppers, and wine, mix the ingredients well for the meatballs. (It's easier to roll the meatballs if the mixture at this stage is chilled for half an hour or more.) Spray or wipe a cookie sheet with oil. Shape the mixture into large walnut-size balls and set them out on the cookie sheet until needed.

Heat a large, preferably non-stick, frying pan to medium and add the oil. Add the meatballs, part at a time if need be to keep them from touching. Reshape them if necessary as you put them in the pan, placing them with a narrow side down, if they do not keep their shape. Carefully turn them a quarter turn at a time as they start to cook and firm up, using a sharp spatula in one hand and a spoon in the other, so they do not get flattened. It may be difficult to keep them completely round, but that is not too important. Fry until the meatblls are lightly browned on all sides.

If the meatballs were fried in two batches, remove the first batch to a bowl, and fry the other batch. When all the meatballs are fried, add the first batch, if done, back to the pan. Spoon out all but a tablespoon of grease. Add the peppers, seeded and cut in 1/2-inch wide lengthwise strips plus the wine to the meatballs. Sprinkle with about a quarter teaspoon of salt. Carefully turn the meatballs so they get moistened on all sides with the wine. Cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Turn the meatballs and peppers, cover again, and simmer a few more minutes. If the wine is drying down, add a little water. Simmer with occasional turning until the peppers are softened. Serve with the peppers draped over the meatballs for color.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

9:13 AM  

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