Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greek Turkey Feta Meatball Recipe with Tzatziki Sauce

Inspiration for recipes can come from the strangest places, even a passing glance at morning show television  . . .
I was inspired by this Lamb meatball recipe that I saw on the today show one morning to use preserved lemon in a meatball recipe.  Since I had fresh ground turkey on hand, my Greek Turkey Meatballs were born.
These meatballs were really quite tasty.  The combination of preserved lemon, Kalamata olives and feta cheese worked extremely well together.  Everyone loved them and no one complained about the olives within the mix.  (If you knew my picky eaters, you would be shocked.)  The turkey was great, played well with the other flavors and is much easier to come by than ground lamb for an everyday meal.  I imagine that lamb would bring this elevate these meatballs to dinner party status.  I’m not sure that I would recommend substituting beef however.  I believe that beef would overpower the other ingredients in this dish.
Preparation is mostly chopping and a quick hand mixing and is not difficult , especially since these meatballs are scooped with an ice cream scoop and baked in the oven rather than pan fried.  I do recommend that you make a small test meatball in a pan to adjust seasoning prior to baking the full batch. 

Serve with Tzatziki Sauce from this post

Greek Turkey Feta Meatballs Recipe
Serves :     6                                     Prep Time:    15 min                               Cook Time: 20 min
INGREDIENTS for 18 large meatballs
1/2 preserved lemon, peel only well rinsed and soaked in hot water, finely sliced & chopped
2 pounds ground turkey
2 clove garlic, minced
1  to 1½ teaspoon dry oregano
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon dry mint
1 cup baby spinach chopped
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons feta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. 
Heat a frying pan and place a small piece of meat in pan and cook throughly.  Taste and adjust seasoning in meatballs. 
Drizzle the olive oil into a large baking dish (such as a 9 x1 2), making sure to evenly coat the entire surface (use your hand to help spread the oil).
Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs, making sure to pack the meat firmly.  I used ice cream scoop.
Place the balls into the oiled baking dish so that all of the meatballs are lined up evenly in rows (the meatballs will be touching each other). Roast until firm and cooked through (about 20 minutes).
Serve with Tzatziki sauce and grilled pita and a salad or as a sandwich. 

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