Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 13th - Tribute to SFO Turkey Meatballs Brasato Al Barolo

Tribute to SFO Turkey Meatballs Brasato Al Barolo
If you have ever lived in the Bay Area, renown for the high per capita gastronomic purveyors, you will likely know of a pizzeria who's name sounds like a highway.  It is famous for number of their dishes beyond their pizzas. One of particular note is their Meatballs.  After much research, D found an approximation of their recipe on line. I had mentioned to D recently that I hadn't had a meatball in a couple of decades and even then, it was either out of a can or at the Hut on a school trip. He seized the suggestion. He did make a few adjustments for his quarterly make-J-eat-meat challenge to make it slightly more palatable for me.  The result was surprising, comforting and tasty.  Though I will admit, still to 'meaty' for me.  I would recommend them to all carnivores out there.  I mean really, the fact that I got through two is huge!  And D, suffered happily through the other dozen and a half.  They freeze well.

Some of you regulars will know I do not like meat. Cafo's and over crowded egg factories aside, I have no real moral objection to meat eating per se.  I just do not like the taste, particularly the taste of fat.  I grew up eating Korean meat dishes which meant: highly flavoured and cooked through.  You would never or rarely see medium Kalbi.  No.  We like the candied char.  MMMM    So I just gave it all up since I was easier than being overly picky.  Now I'm extra sensitive to it to a point, I'm not too great with the Korean stuff either.  Given this back drop, which I have had to repeat to D after his first, 'miss' on the challenge, he's risen to the parameters of success:  Drain all fat, pick low fat meat, do not even attempt 'naked' meat at this stage and the more aromatics the better. 

So far, he's batting .300.  Again! I want to emphasise that these are good meatballs but just missed the vegetarian conversion mark.  One thing I did suggest is that he make them smaller so I would have more browned surface area but they do braise for a long time so you'd have to be careful not to turn it in to a bolognese.

D's Memories of SFO Red Wine Braised Turkey Meatballs

2 - 2.5 lbs Lean Ground Turkey
4 oz (~120g) by weight grated Parmesan
400g or 1 lb. Stale or Dried Bread (we keep stale bread in the freezer for this reason)
1 small Onion (tennis ball), finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/2 bunch Parsley (~1c), chopped
1 T fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/2 T fresh Oregano, chopped
1/2 T fresh Basil, chopped (optional)
2t dried Fennel Seeds
2t Chili Flakes
1/2 lb (~225g) Ricotta (half a tub)
1/4 c (give or take a T) Milk
4 large Eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325F

Mix the Turkey with Salt, Chile flakes, Fennel Seed, and Herbs. Add the Onions, Garlic, Parsley, and Parmesan.  Ideally you should do this by hand wearing gloves or really clean hands. 

Put the Bread in a food processor; process until finely crumbled like sand. Add the Bread Crumbs and Ricotta to the Turkey; mix by hand. Add milk to achieve a moist, soft texture.

Beat the Eggs lightly in a bowl and then add to the mixture. Mix until Eggs are barely incorporated. Don’t overmix.

Form into balls 3T sized balls (size of an average plum, though I'd go smaller). Heat a large dutch oven with Olive Oil, fry until golden brown all over. 

Remove from dish, drain all fat well, and place the Balls back in to the dutch oven to braise in your choice of sauce (See Below) for 2-3 hours.  Allow to cool in the sauce slightly before serving. 

Serve over Pasta with more Parmesan.

D's Barolo Red Wine Sauce for Braising

1 oz dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 small Onion, finely chopped 1 Carrot, chopped (same size as Onions)
1 Celery Stalk, chopped (ditto above)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
1 T fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/4 c fresh Parsley leaves, chopped and packed
3 T Tomato Paste
2-3 c Barolo other big Red Wine
1 (28-ounce) can Italian Tomatoes, smushed (I use my hands)
2 c Vegetable stock
Salt and pepper


Soak the Porcini Mushrooms in 1 cup of heated Broth until for about 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve.  You could use cheesecloth if you're fussed but if you're careful about the sediment on the bottom, you won't need to bother.  Set the Porcini aside and reserve the liquid.

In the empty dutch oven, with the Turkey Balls set aside, drain all the fat, heat and add 1-2 T of Olive Oil.  Add the Onions, Carrots, and Celery, sautee until soft and golden, 3-5 minutes. Add the Garlic and stir for 1 minute, don't brown too much.  It goes bitter fast.  Stir in Bay Leaves, Rosemary, Parsley, and Tomato paste. Add the Wine and gently simmer about 20 minutes until reduced by about half.


Add the Tomatoes, Porcini Mushrooms, Mushroom Liquid.  Bring to a simmer then add the Turkey Balls.  Add enough Vegetable Broth to almost cover the Turkey Balls. Braise in the oven as above for 2-3 hours.

3 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Amy Bakes Everything said...

Gorgeous! The ingredients list looks pretty easy for something so beautiful (and with such a fancy name)!

Rhonda said...

Orgasmic...I'm a sucker for meat balls and red wine!

The Mom Chef said...

I head in the other direction than you; instead of allowing for vegetarians, add the beef. :)

That being said, I'm in love with the red wine sauce. Wow, that must smell fantastic as it's braising. Great recipe.