Thursday, 16 September 2010
Turkey Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce
A trip to the supermarket isn’t complete without remortgaging your house. Whereas in the UK, the fierce competition between the supermarkets means you get inundated with special offers, 3 for 2s, bogofs and reap the rewards from loyalty schemes, Sweden just plucks a price for each item out of thin air and then doubles it. And then adds a tonne of tax. For the first month or so I was overwhelmed by the language barrier and a bit naïve about the exchange rate with the result that each bag of food seemed to cost around 30 pounds. Since then, I’ve been far more careful and have cut out expensive items such as meat from my shopping list and instead filled my basket with vegetables and keep things interesting by regularly visiting the fish monger. As a result my bags are now weighing in at 20 pounds and I am feeling a lot healthier to boot.
Whilst exploring the exotic frozen meet section in my local supermarket, amongst the crocodile meat, marrow bones and deer blood, I came across a rather boring, but cheap, giant frozen turkey breast and started thinking of ways to pep up this dull lump of protein.
The first night I lobbed off a couple of chunks and poached them in a stock laced with cardamom, cinnamon and coriander and ladled over a reduced sauce that was supposed to be savoury but turned into butterscotch. Whilst it filled a hole for dinner and lunch the next day, let’s just say it barely deserved the 63 words I’ve just given it.
The worst thing about the meat was the texture. With so little fat it was dry and very tasteless. So the only solution was to mince it and turn this mound of inert poultry into super tasty meatballs. This is an adaptation of a great recipe from Anne’s Food which uses either pork or beef. But I’ve used turkey instead.
1 whole turkey breast weighing around a kilo
1 finely sliced onion
1 clove of garlic
Handful of cardamom pods
Sprinkling of cinnamon powder
Sprinkling of all spice
Some oats/breadcrumbs to balance the moisture – use your judgement
A dozen sliced button mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
Mince your turkey and add everything in the meatballs ingredients list. Hold back a bit on the spices and make a test meatball which you should fry in a bit of oil. It should cook in about 5-8 minutes. Let it cool and test for seasoning and spicing. Adjust as necessary remembering that you can always add more, but it’s harder to take away!
Form into balls about the size of a golf ball and fry in batches to brown. Transfer to a roasting pan cook in a medium-low oven whilst you plough on with the other aspects.
Boil the wheat and drain, but reserve the starchy water. Keep the wheat warm.
Sautee the mushrooms in butter and oil and season with salt which will draw the moisture out. They should start to turn brown. Then add the onions and garlic and cook until soft but not brown. Then pour in about 300ml of the starchy wheat water and it should cause quite a commotion in the pan. Add a dash of liquid chicken stock and reduce. Add some crème fraiche, tarragon, thyme and seasoning to the sauce which should become quite stroganoffy.
Serve the meatballs on a bed of wheat and topped with the mushroom sauce. What is lacks in colour it makes up for in rich, autumnal flavours.
This recipe made around 20 meatballs which was enough for 5 meals. Which made it incredibly good value. The warming spicing completely transformed the bland turkey and leant itself to being paired with quinoa, cous cous or fregula and plenty of hot sauce.
After dipping my toe into the controversial world of Swedish meatballs, I’m looking forward to giving the proper versions a go next. If you’ve got a great recipe for Swedish meatballs that you can share with me I’d love to give it a go.