In my attempt to expand my “flavor-profile” horizons, I decided to make these “Moroccan” meatballs. For the record, I don’t know that they have turkeys in Morocco (I am guessing more lamb?), so it’s more the flavors that I am going for in this recipe: cumin, coriander, paprika, nutmeg and cinnamon. An interesting combination, to be sure. But they turned out quite lovely. I’ve frozen a batch so when I have visitors in the next few weeks, they might be good as an appetizer or a snack. If going for the whole meal thing, service with cous cous. Nom.
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
1 1/2 pounds 85 or 93 percent lean ground turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses; transfer bread crumbs to large bowl. Add gelatin, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 teaspoons paprika, cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne and mix until thoroughly combined. Pulse carrots and anchovies in food processor until carrots are a very chopped fine, 10 to 15 pulses. Add carrot mixture, turkey, and egg to bowl with bread-crumb mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 30 portions (about 2-3 tablespoons each*). Using your hands, roll each portion into ball; transfer meatballs to plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Pulse onion in food processor until finely chopped, 10 to 15 pulses. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add meatballs and cook until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in skillet.
Add tomato paste, ginger, and onion to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to high; add broth, saffron, 1/4 cup parsley, remaining 1 teaspoon paprika, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon cayenne; and bring to simmer. Return meatballs to skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until meatballs register 160 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes, turning meatballs once. Transfer meatballs to platter, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer sauce until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over meatballs, garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and serve.
*If serving them as a snack or appetizer, make thee smaller meatballs so they can be eaten with a toothpick. If you are planning to serve as a meal, you can make them double in size (1/4 cup) and you will only get 15-16 meatballs.