When I think of Sunday dinners, I think about comforting foods, a table full of love and laughter, and family. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the dinner table, and I hope that the same will hold true for Caroline. Sometimes I'll cook a meal and it's just "right." The main dish and the sides all complement each other, the flavors play well off of each other, and its hard to pick a favorite dish on the table. My sister and niece are staying here for a while, and I thought it would be nice to cook a family dinner on Sunday after church.
Since I've been featuring Thanksgiving-like recipes that don't involve roasting a whole turkey, I thought I would continue the trend. I found this recipe and knew that it would be a hit with both Caroline and my niece, but I was disappointed to see that the meatballs had an egg in them, since Caroline is allergic. No worries - I just subbed in 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree, and they held together beautifully. In my small amount of experimentation, pumpkin puree works the best as egg-substitute binders for meat and baked casseroles, but I like using flax or chia "eggs" in baking - or just adjusting the ratios to leave out eggs.
In any case, Caroline chowed DOWN on these meatballs. Mashed potatoes have always been one of her favorite foods, but she left hers by the wayside to eat FOUR of the meatballs - that's how many I ate!! Speaking of mashed potatoes, I knew they were a must for the side, and I also made maple-mustard roasted green beans, which Joey has proclaimed to be the only way he wants to eat green beans from now on.
The meatballs are very easy to throw together, and as a bonus, they cook in the oven rather than on the stove top. This is great for two reasons. One, they are healthier, and two, they are less labor-intensive and you don't have to worry about oil splatters. The cranberry-orange sauce goes really well with the savory herbed meatballs as well.
I think this would be a great meal to make if you want the flavors of Thanksgiving without all the hassle. I also think they would make a great appetizer for a party - just make them a tad bit smaller and bake a few minutes less.
One Year Ago: Fontina Shells and Cheese
Herbed Turkey Meatballs
adapted from Williams Sonoma
- 1 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely choped
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, or panko
- 1/4 cup pumpin puree, or 1 egg
- 2 Tbs fresh oregano, minced
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 2 Tbs fresh parsley, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the celery and onion, turkey, bread crumbs, pumpkin puree, oregano, poultry seasoning, parsley, salt, and pepper. Gently mix to incorporate with your hands. Using a cookie scoop, form the mixture in meatballs, and arrange them on the baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes, until cooked through.
Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce. combine the orange juice, shallot, cranberries, and sugar in a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, until the cranberries pop and the mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes.
Serve the meatballs with the cranberry sauce.