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Rachael mixes up her Thanksgiving menu with turkey and cornbread stuffing meatballs served with mashed potatoes, gravy + apple or cranberry sauce.
During the holidays, these meatballs are a great versatile option. Roll them 2 inches in diameter and serve them as a party snack or roll them an inch or two larger and serve them as an entree. Rach plans on three per person for a main course and plates them in a pool of gravy with mashed potatoes and chunky apple sauce or cranberry sauce on the side. Since she's only cooking Thanksgiving dinner for three or four people this year, this may be what's on the menu, along with John's Cranberry Aperol Spritz. It's a delicious, fun way to get all the Thanksgiving flavors without cooking a whole bird.
Note that the recipes below serve four to six people as an entree, but if you're making the smaller meatballs, they serve 8 to 10 as an appetizer.
- 2 bulbs garlic, ends cut to expose cloves
- Non-aerosol cooking spray
- 5 Russet potatoes, 2 ½ -3 pounds
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons butter
- White pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½ cups seasoned cornbread stuffing
- 1 cup warm turkey stock or chicken bone broth
- ½ cup small golden raisins
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, such as Bell’s
- ½ cup fresh herbs (parsley, sage and thyme), finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- EVOO non-aerosol spray
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 large clove garlic, grated or pasted
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, sage and thyme)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 ½ cups turkey stock or chicken bone broth
- Salt and pepper
- 4 crisp apples, peeled and diced
- 2 cups cider
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- Pinch of salt
- 1 sack fresh cranberries
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
For the mashed potatoes, preheat oven to 425°F with rack at center.
Place garlic on foil, spray with a little oil and season with salt. Fold up foil into a pouch and roast 45 to 60 minutes until soft and golden. Cool and paste.
Peel and cube potatoes and cover with cold water, then bring to a boil. Salt the water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Heat half-and-half with butter in small pot.
Drain potatoes and pass through a food mill back into warm pot. Add garlic, half-and-half and butter, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Heat ½ inch of water in wide shallow pot to a low simmer, add the pot of potatoes and keep covered in water bath until ready to serve.
For the meatballs, preheat oven to 425°F with rack at center.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and add celery, onion, salt and pepper and soften a few minutes, then add garlic and stir a minute more.
Place stuffing in bowl. Heat stock, pour over stuffing and let soak to soften. Add celery, onion and garlic and let cool.
Cover raisins with ½ cup boiling water and let soak and plump.
Place turkey in large bowl and season with salt and pepper, fennel seeds, poultry seasoning and fresh herbs. Add cooled stuffing and egg, then mix to combine.
Line a baking sheet with foil and parchment.
Score meat into sections to help portion meatballs or use a scoop. Roll 2-inch meatballs for party size and larger 3- to 4-inch meatballs to serve as an entree. Roast 2-inch meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes, larger meatballs for 22 to 25 minutes or until cooked through and golden.
For the gravy, melt butter in wide saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and herbs and swirl a minute or 2, then add flour and combine. Whisk in lemon juice and stock and season with salt and pepper, then thicken a few minutes at low boil and adjust seasoning.
For the apple sauce, place ingredients in small pot and cook at medium to medium-high until thickened and a chunky sauce forms.
For the cranberry sauce, place ingredients in small pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat a bit and cook to crack cranberries and form thickened sauce.