Friday, August 9, 2013

Lunch Week 27: Turkey Meatballs with Vegetable Bolognese

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Turkey Meatballs with Vegetable Bolognese
This recipe is a riff of my turkey meatloaf recipe. I didn't particularly want meatloaf but I had all this ground turkey to use. So why not meatballs?

First the vegetables. If you've read about my meatloaf, you know I put a lot of vegetables in it. Here, I used carrots, celery, and onions. I cooked it in oil and seasoned it generously.
And cook and cook I did. For about an hour using unsalted chicken stock to deglaze the pan occasionally. After all that cooking, you should have something like the picture below. All the vegetables have caramelized and broken down into an intense paste. It's similar to sofrito.
Let that vegetable mixture cool a bit then add to ground turkey along with salt, pepper, minced parsley, eggs, and bread crumbs.
Then oil a sheet pan, form the turkey mixture into miniature baseballs.
Bake in the oven at 400oF until browned for about 30 minutes. They're pretty much cooked through at this point. Don't worry, the vegetables keep them extremely moist.
And now the vegetable bolognese sauce. Since it's summer, I used a lot of squashes like eggplant, yellow, and zuchinni.
I also had a head of broccoli that needed to be used before it went bad. This is purely optional. I was just trying to finish up what was in my kitchen.
Saute the vegetables in the same pot as the first set of vegetables with oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Then add 24oz of marinara sauce and 26oz of unsalted chicken stock. Salt to taste.
Now place the cooked meatballs into the sauce. Make sure each meatballs is somewhat submerged in the sauce. Add more marinara and chicken stock if needed.
Then cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Voila! Turkey meatballs with vegetable bolognese. I would like to think that this recipe hides a lot of vegetables in the dish. But hiding vegetables is terrible concept as they taste wonderful and do no't need to be masked.

Turkey Meatballs with Vegetable Bolognese
Makes 54 meatballs

1 bunch celery
2 carrots
3 yellow onions
52oz unsalted chicken stock, separated
2 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 bunch parsley, finely minced
1 cup bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 long, skinny eggplant
1 summer/yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 broccoli crown
24oz marinara sauce

1. Finely chop celery, carrots, and onions into small dice. Heat up large pot on high. Add oil and saute vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to saute until vegetables break down completely while stirring occasionally. When the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with chicken stock. Continue to cook down the vegetables and deglaze the pan until 26 oz of chicken stock is used. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 400oF.
3. Mix together the ground turkey, cooled vegetable mixture, eggs, bread crumbs, and parsley. Form into small baseball sized balls and set on oiled sheet pan.
4. Place sheet pan in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
5. Dice eggplant, summer squash, zucchini, and broccoli. Using the same pot as the initial vegetables, saute squashes and broccoli with oil. Season with salt and pepper. When the vegetables have slightly softened about 10 minutes, add marinara sauce and rest of chicken stock. Stir to combine.
6. Add meatballs to sauce mixing carefully to make sure each ball is at least slightly submerged. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
7. Uncover and serve while hot. Serve about 5-6 per person. Enjoy!

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