Cook's Country (April/May 2015)
When you hear "meatballs," what's the dish that comes to mind? We bet it's a pasta dish with meatballs swimming in a red tomato sauce.
That's precisely why we earmarked this recipe: The idea of a lemony meatball dish -- one without really any sauce at all -- piqued our interest.
And this dish from Cook's Country didn't disappoint.
We made this dish on a Tuesday night after work. We'd invited our friends Drew and Ralph over for dinner, and we wanted something tasty but not too time-intensive. This dish checked both of those boxes nicely -- although rolling out the individual meatballs themselves does take some time.
We made a couple substitutions here -- one purposefully and one accidentally.
First, to make this dish a bit healthier, we swapped in cauliflower rice for the long-grain white rice called for. We used one medium-sized head of cauliflower. That was perfect for the four of us. Using cauliflower did mean a couple other changes to the procedure, though. We used far less chicken broth, for one thing -- about 1 cup instead of the 3 1/4 cups called for in the recipe. Obviously you'd need that much liquid to cook white rice, but you just don't need it for cauliflower.
The other substitution? We forgot to buy fresh parsley, so we added some dried oregano into the meatball mixture for flavor. It turned out fine, but we bet the fresh parsley would have been even better.
All in all, we really liked this dish a lot. (Actually, we've already made it again since last week.) The lemon and the lack of sauce makes this a much lighter, springier meatball dish. The flavors are simple but clean and delicious.
A 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid is essential. Turn the meatballs gently in step 2 so they don’t break.
2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
6 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin
1 large egg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
Pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs, 10 to 15 pulses; transfer to large bowl. Add turkey, 2 tablespoons scallion greens, egg, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 20 portions (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Roll into meatballs, transfer to plate, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in skillet.
Return skillet to medium-high heat and add rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 1 minute. Add scallion whites, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, lemon juice, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest and bring to boil.
Return meatballs to skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, remaining scallion greens, and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.