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Get the Balls Rolling

Turkey Meatballs in Smoky Tomato-Cumin Sauce

Photo by Andrew Meade

Every cuisine has its version of meatballs, using different types of meats and spices. They're liked by young and old alike, and they're one of my go-to comfort foods. Meatballs are a great way to feed a crowd and—depending on your choice of ingredients—you can make them quite healthy.

For this version of meatballs, I've chosen turkey as my protein and Mexican spices for flavor. These go great over rice or quinoa, or on a meatball sub topped with Oaxaca cheese.

Buen Provecho!

Turkey Meatballs in Smoky Tomato-Cumin Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 pound ground turkey breast
⅓ cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup onion, shredded (use the large holes on a box grater)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 28-ounce can tomato puree
1½ cups shredded onion (use the large holes on a box shredder)
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
2 whole garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)

1. To prepare the meatballs, using your hands, combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Shape 24 meatballs from the mixture. Place on a platter, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

2. To make the sauce, puree the tomato puree, onion, broth, cumin, oregano, chipotles with their adobo, and garlic in a blender.

3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. In batches, add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate. Add the chipotle puree to the Dutch oven and partially cover the pot. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. Return the meatballs to the Dutch oven and stir gently to coat with the sauce. Cover completely and simmer, stirring halfway through cooking, until the meatballs are opaque when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the cilantro, if using, and serve hot.

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