Monday, November 23, 2020

Turkey Meatballs with Coconut and Lemongrass


Meatballs are usually a good bet with my kids. The Fox has a 50% chance of liking them, which is more than with most types of food right now, and the rest of us are typically big fans. So I made these turkey meatballs with coconut lemongrass sauce one night when I wanted something with Asian flavors that wasn’t quite an Asian dish. 

I reordered the ingredients below to match the order of the steps, because at times I wanted to pull out my hair when making this dish based on the original recipe! I increased the amount of turkey to 2 pounds to make more meatballs, and omitted the 1 ½ tablespoons of sambal olek in favor of a pinch of Korean pepper. That being said, from the way the ingredients were listed, it wasn’t obvious to me how much lemongrass and ginger were needed in total, and since the store sold lemongrass in a package of a single stalk and I figured the knob of ginger I had at home would be enough, well, I ended up not having enough. Be aware that there are similar ingredients in both the meatballs and the sauce, and make sure to write down a precise (total) amount on your grocery list! I put most of my aromatics in the meatballs and eyeballed the amounts. 

This dish was truly delicious! I served it with rice and carrot tzimmes

For the meatballs 
1 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided 
1/3 cup chopped shallots 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped 
2 lbs. ground turkey 
1 ½ Tbsp. grated ginger 
1 Tbsp. soy sauce 
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (I use Red Boat) 
1 pinch Korean pepper (see note above) 
½ cup panko breadcrumbs 
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro 
1 tsp. salt pepper, to taste 

For the coconut sauce 
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and bruised 
3 cardamom pods, lightly cracked 
3” cinnamon stick 
1 tsp. turmeric 
1 ½” piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 3 pieces 
1 ½ tsp. coriander seeds 
1 star anise pod 
1 14.5-oz. can of coconut milk 
1 cup chicken stock 
juice of ½ lime 
salt and pepper, to taste 
lime zest and cilantro, to serve (optional) 

For the meatballs 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and lemongrass and cook for 1 minutes longer. Take the pan off the heat and set aside so that the shallot mixture can cool down a little. 

In a large bowl, put the ground turkey, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, Korean pepper, breadcrumbs, cilantro, salt, and pepper, along with the reserved shallot mixture. Mix with your hands or a fork or spoon until just combined. Dampen your hands and shape the mixture into meatballs. I made my meatballs roughly 1” in diameter and got a total of 48 meatballs. 

Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for about 1 hour. This will give time for the flavors to meld and help the meatballs hold their shape as you cook them. 

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high in a large, deep skillet. When the pan is hot, add the meatballs and brown on all sides. (I did this in 2 batches and put in all the meatballs for the next step.) 

For the coconut sauce 
Add the lemongrass, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, turmeric, ginger pieces, coriander seeds, star anise, and coconut milk to the skillet; bring to a simmer. 

Slowly add the chicken stock and simmer the meatballs over medium heat for 10-12 minutes (I used a thermometer to check that they were cooked all the way through). Add the lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste. 

Garnish with lime zest and cilantro. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

No comments: