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Playing Turkey Meatballs with Fennel, Golden Raisins and Pinenuts


  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins (preferred brand Sunkist)
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy (Calvados) or brandy
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (a mix of white and dark meat)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or panko – moistened with a splash of milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • A fat drizzle of olive oil


Serves: 6-8 as an appetizer


Preheat oven to 400°F. Soak raisins in apple brandy to plump.
Place turkey in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice; add zest, thyme, sage, parsley, rosemary, fennel seeds, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and egg to the bowl along with the plumbed raisins. Drizzle with oil and mix with your hands to combine. Roll balls with moistened hands or use a small scoop to the size of a large walnut and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until golden and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.