As you may know, when my husband started eating meat again after being a vegetarian for twenty-one years, I had a celebration of sorts. Remember, my Blackberry-Thyme Roasted Chicken?
Well, now he can’t get enough. Any time I ask him if he wants anything from the market, his response is always, “meat, chicken, steak, whatever, just some meat.” In addition, he’s been getting all sorts of specific carnivorous cravings. I mean come on, wouldn’t you if you had stuck to plants for all those years!? 😉
This ridiculously delicious recipe satisfied his recent longing for meatballs. (Have you ever pined for a meatball? It can happen.)This might just be the “mother of all comfort foods,” too. It’s so warm and cozy with tasty spices and soft textures. Really, in a word . . . yum!
- 2-pounds ground turkey
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon each: ground oregano, garlic powder, onion powder
- 2½ teaspoons dried thyme, divided
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil for the pan
- 1½ cups thinly sliced red onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, dried and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1½ cups carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1¾-pounds fresh tomatoes (or one 28-ounce can tomato purée)
- 1 cup peas (frozen and thawed is okay)
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- Combine the ground turkey with the egg, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 teaspoon on the dried thyme and salt. Mix only until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a very large sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1½ teaspoons of dried thyme and stir to blend.
- Turn the heat to the lowest setting and add the potatoes and carrots. Cover the pan with a fitted lid or foil to let them steam until they're tender, about 15 minutes. (Open the lid and stir from time to time to be sure they aren't getting too brown or burning.)
- Wash, dry and core the tomatoes. Then add them to a powerful blender and purée them until you have a smooth mixture. (You can also use a 28-ounce can of tomato purée.) Pour this into the sauté pan with the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to low and simmer to let it thicken a bit, about 15 minutes.
- Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper and granulated sugar. (Here's How to Season to Taste.)
- Keeping the heat low and then shape the turkey mixture into approximately ¼ cup balls, gently adding them to the pan as you go. (Clear a bit of space for each one, by moving the sauce around a bit.) Cover the pan and let the meatballs steam until they are cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. (About halfway through the cooking time, gently flip them over.)
- Gently mix in the peas and basil.