Spanish Style Turkey Meatballs with Almond Sauce

I’ve been meaning to write about this one for a really long time. I just never really knew what to say about it exactly.

It’s a wonderful dish, full of savory Spanish style flavors and aromatic with the scent of lemon and fruity wine. It uses ground turkey too so I guess it’s a bit healthier without screaming “diet-food” in the least bit. And of course it’s convenient because the meatballs are baked rather than pan-fried so there is no need to worry about an overcrowded pan of half burnt meatballs falling apart every time you try to flip them over. The meatballs with the almond sauce are perfectly fine on their own but are even better with a nice wedge of crusty bread to mop up the juices and something fresh and green to dip in the remaining sauce.  I ate it for four days straight without getting tired of it and I think it’s a really great way to change up an ordinary weeknight meal.

So why had its image been sitting unused in my iPhoto gallery for the past two months? It just really had no story. It’s not passed down, not traditional to my heritage or upbringing or reminiscent of anything from my childhood. The recipe just sort of came out of nowhere and happened to turn out really quite well. It still has no story and I have yet to recreate it for my family. I’m the only one who has tasted this gem, which is why I’m now suddenly itching to release this dish to the world instead of hoarding it to myself until I think of what to say about it. Enjoy.

Spanish Style Turkey Meatballs with Almond Sauce
serves 4 meatballs are original and sauce is adapted from this

This would be a perfect thing to bring to a potluck/tapas sort of party if you make the meatballs smaller and serve with toothpicks in a pool of the sauce. It would be nice on cooler pre-summer nights accompanied by a glass of the leftover wine used to make the dish. Of course you can certainly try it with other sides like sautéed greens or asparagus rather than the French beans if you’re going for a more seasonal thing too.

2 Tbs. olive oil
½ of an onion, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped roasted red peppers either jarred or homemade (instructions here)
2 Tbs. minced parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
1¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup plus 2 Tbs. Pinot Grigio or another fruity, dry white wine
1 lb ground turkey
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp. sugar
¼ cup blanched almonds
salt and pepper to taste
a loaf of crusty white bread and greens to serve (optional)

For the meatballs, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and salt and pepper to taste and sauté for about 5-7 minutes until tender. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly and set aside. Tear up one piece of the bread into a bowl and pour over ¼ cup of the stock and 2 tablespoons of the wine and mash with a fork until the bread is completely saturated. Set aside for 5 minutes.  Add the roasted red pepper, parsley, oregano, paprika, and soaked bread with liquid to the onion and mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Add the turkey to the mixture and mix until just combined evenly. Diving into 16 balls space them evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through.

While the meatballs bake, make the almond sauce. In a large skillet, bring the remaining stock and remaining wine to a boil. Add the lemon zest and sugar and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium high. Tear up the other piece of bread into the skillet along with the almonds and fry until the bread and almonds are golden. Set aside to cool slightly and then whiz them in a food processer until you have a fine powder. Add the almond and bread powder to the simmering stock and stir. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes adding additional liquid as needed.

Serve the meatballs with the sauce with a wedge of a rustic country loaf and greens of your choice.