Turkey and Wine Meatballs

Turkey & Wine Meatballs

Magazines.  I love ’em.  I’m addicted, and have to work hard not to spend three hours standing in front of the magazine rack at the grocery store reading every cooking, crafting, and home decor magazine on display.  So last week after realizing that I had left my poor family in the car waiting for me, I grabbed a magazine and vowed to read it at home.  I ended up picking up a copy of Cook’s Illustrated and was intrigued by their Asian Inspired Turkey Meatball recipe.


Turkey & Wine Meatballs

Of course, I had to mess with the recipe and use wine in place of the water and the chicken broth!  I used our Coup King wine, but you could easily substitute Courtois or Dry Creek instead.

I also had to change up the recipe since I live in the country where the rural grocery stores do not carry things like dried shitake mushrooms.  We do have baby bella mushrooms though, so I used those.  I found my change didn’t seem to negatively affect the texture or flavor of these meatballs. I’d say you could easily use regular ‘ol button mushrooms too.  Just be sure to refrigerate the meatballs before you cook them so they hold their shape well.

One thing I didn’t mess with though is to use a 93% lean ground turkey, not the 99% lean.  That won’t have enough fat in it to cook up properly.  You could also use 85% lean successfully according to the folks at Cook’s Illustrated.

Turkey & Wine Meatballs
These were crisp on the outside with a moist meaty texture inside.  The Asian-inspired sauce was divine too, with just the right level of soy flavoring and not too much saltiness.  Though I didn’t find this a particularly fast recipe to make, if you want to try a little something out-of-the-ordinary with a comfort food, I’d highly recommend trying this out.  Serve over rice or soba noodles to complete the asian flair.

Turkey and Wine Meatballs
Use a 85 or 93 lean ground turkey. The 99% lean turkey doesn't have enough fat to hold the meatballs together in this recipe.
Peaceful Bend Vineyard:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons Coup King wine
  • ½ cup sliced baby bella, or button mushrooms
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs made from day-old or stale slices of french bread - approximately 2-3 slices
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 6 green onion, trimmed, whites diced, and green parts sliced crosswise
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 anchovies, patted dry between paper towels
  • 1.2 pounds 93 percent fat ground turkey meat
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon low salt soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  1. In a blender or food processor pulse slices of french bread to create fine crumbs. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Add mushrooms and anchovy filets to the food processor or blender and pulse until finely minced. Add to large bowl with bread crumbs.
  3. Add parmesan cheese, white parts of the onions plus half of the green parts (reserve other half for garnishing at end), sugar, salt white pepper, 2 teaspoons gelatin, turkey, and egg to the bread crumb bowl. Mix together with your hands until well combined.
  4. Form the mixture into balls, using approximately ¼ cup per meatball (should make approximately 15 large meatballs). Place on a large plate and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and wait until the oil is quite hot. Add the chilled meatballs and brown the meatballs on all sides. Remove from skillet to a plate and add more oil to the skillet if you think you'll need it.
  6. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon gelatin over 2 Tablespoons of wine in a small bowl to soften.
  7. Add garlic to the skillet and saute for about 30 seconds. Immediately add the soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 cup wine, and gelatin mixture. Stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, add the meatballs and cover.
  8. Cook meatballs for 12-15 minutes, turning once. Meatballs are finished when the internal temperature comes to 160F.
  9. Place the cooked meatballs on a platter, drizzle with the sauce that remains in the skillet, and sprinkle with reserved green onions.
Feel free to substitute any of our dry white wines in place of the Coup King wine. Also, do not skip refrigerating the meatballs before cooking to keep them from being too mushy.