Really random and really fabulous… the story behind this fantastic recipe…
I went to make meatballs with the ground turkey which was in my refrigerator and didn’t have tomatoes to make a sauce. I started opening all my cabinets and quickly ran to the window to see that the corner bodega was closed, granted I just got home from work and it was past 11pm, I didn’t expect it to be open but knowing it was Friday I thought I might have luck on my side. Wrong. I went back into the kitchen and opened the last cabinet with my seasonings and TJ’s items… and then I saw it, the glossy jar of Trader Joe’s Thai green curry simmer sauce.
Could this combo work? sure why not, that’s why I cook right? to be creative and of course to stuff my face with spicy food. I went ahead and chopped up some fresh mushrooms, grated some zesty ginger, pressed some garlic, minced some cilantro, got my spices all together and combined everything in one large bowl.
Another reason I love making meatballs, everything goes in one bowl and you get your hands dirty mixing it all up until each area of meat has specks of mushrooms and cilantro poking through. Then the short waiting process begun…you know, so the meat could absorb all the awesome stuff just added in.
At this phase that the raw mixture itself smells almost good enough to eat, like a really well seasoned meat tartar.
Finally more hands on fun, This fabulous smelling mixture is shaped into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and placed on a cutting board, or plate, anyplace that they won’t stick to.
Not only are the meatballs themselves filled with great flavors but the sauce is really the kicker. This is really simple if you can find the ingredients, you will need one jar of Thai green simmer sauce/curry (it should have coconut in it) If you can’t get that or anything like it, simply use a green curry paste and coconut cream mixed together (adjusting how much heat/sweetness you want in the sauce). The rest of the sauce is just stock and a few spices.
The meatballs are browned quickly on each side in a pan and then tossed into the simmering curry sauce waiting in a separate pot. The meatballs are not cooked all the way through in order to remain tender and moist. After browning they will be raw in the middle and will finish cooking slowly in the sauce. They will absorb the sauce, cook through and this method cures them from being dry meatballs.
Making these on a Friday night was actually pretty great as on Saturday I brought them over to my parents which absolutely loved them. My dad kept asking me how I made them and what I put into them.
I made them again for my co-worker… which then kept requesting them.
These meatballs were my little secret…. but I thought they were too good not to share eventually. These are soft tender turkey meatballs bursting with hot zesty ginger, fresh mushrooms, and a melody of seasonings that give you that much needed kick in the mouth simmered in a creamy coconut green curry sauce, what else could you want.
- 1 lb (500g) ground turkey thigh or mixed turkey meat
- 5 oz (140g) mushrooms, white/baby bella/chestnut, finely diced
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoons flour
- 1 medium shallot or onion, finely minced or pureed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2-1 inch knob ginger, peeled, minced or pressed (by preference)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon dried garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/16 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/16 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/16 teaspoon ground mixed spice (blend of cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, pimento, ginger)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped, more for garnish
- 1 jar Thai Green Curry Sauce
- 1-2 cups chicken broth
- (or a mixture of 4 tablespoons green curry paste, 1 small can or coconut cream and 1-2 cups chicken broth)
- 1-2 whole all spice
- 1 kefir lime leaf (dried of fresh)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 hearty tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoons cold water
- In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients for the turkey meatballs and blend well with your hands or a spatula. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated into the meat and the egg has bonded well. If the mixture seems too wet add a tablespoon or two of unflavored bread crumbs (this will vary on the turkey meat used). Allow the meat to stand 30 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 hours to properly absorb all the spices.
- With your hands shape the meatball mixture into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls and set aside. Warm the ingredients for the sauce in a medium-large saucepan on medium heat. Warm coconut oil/olive oil, or any lighter oil on medium heat in a large pan and place meatballs in the oil one at a time leaving enough room to turn each one over. This will need to be done in 2 batches as in most cases all meatballs won't fit in one pan. Brown each meatball on all sides until you have a golden brown but not crispy exterior, depending on the size of meatball created this could be 1-3 minutes on each side. We want to ensure that the meatball is not cooked all the way through as it will finish cooking in the sauce, this will result in a tender meatball. At this point your curry sauce should be hot, make sure you reduce the heat to a simmer and gently place each browned meatball in the sauce. Repeat until all meatballs are immersed in the sauce. Cover the meatballs leaving the lid partially open, and continue to simmer until the meatballs are throughly cooked and have absorbed the sauce slightly, about 15-20 minutes. The level of doneness will vary on the size of meatball created, larger meatballs will take longer to cook through, remember to test a meatball before serving.
- In a glass combine the flour and cold water, store well to create a flour paste. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooked sauce to the paste and mix again. Add the flour mixture into the saucepan with the sauce and meatballs. Stir well and allow the sauce to cook 5 minutes longer, this will thicken the sauce. This can be done while the meatballs are cooking or before, I prefer to do it right at the end of the cooking process.