Mushroom Sage Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatball

Mushroom Sage Turkey Meatball

I have already begun using the Sage I dried and put in the freezer last week. These Mushroom Sage Turkey Meatballs are tender, lowfat, healthy and delicious!

Serve them with spaghetti (gluten free or regular) or spaghetti squash. Baked potato doused with meatballs and sauce? Yes! Load them up on a good loaf of toasted Italian garlic bread, make a meatball pizza or simply eat a no-bread sandwich with lettuce, fresh tomato and shaved Parmesan cheese.

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 cup chopped Cremini/Baby Bella mushrooms

1 tablespoon dried crushed sage (or 1 teaspoon fresh minced sage or 1 teaspoon ground sage)

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground mace *optional

1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together with hands just until everything is combined well. Place back in the refrigerator while you prepare the tomato sauce.

*Mace is the outer, lacy layer of nutmeg and is available in ground form in the spice section of your market. It has a mild white pepper/nutmeg flavor. You may substitute nutmeg if you don’t have Mace, or leave it out entirely.

I grew up in a family with German and Italian heritage, where German sausage (spiced with Mace) was often used in Italian dishes. I love the subtle flavor it gives!

For the Tomato Sauce:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 large cloves)

1/2 cup grated or finely chopped Vidalia onion

1-2 bay leaves

4-6 whole fresh basil leaves

50-60 ounces whole tomatoes in tomato juice/sauce (I used two 28 ounce cans)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar or honey

Place olive oil and onion in a large saucepan and saute onion over medium heat until it is translucent.  Add the garlic, bay and basil leaves and reduce heat to low. Cook, uncovered for 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice/sauce, salt and honey and bring to a gentle boil on medium heat, breaking tomatoes up with your spoon as you wait. Carefully taste sauce to adjust seasoning.

When tomato sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat slightly but keep it simmering. Take your ground turkey meatball mixture out of the refrigerator. Form your meatballs and gently drop into the tomato sauce as it is simmering until all of the meatball mixture is used. You will get about a dozen 1-2 inch meatballs.

After placing the meatballs into the sauce let them simmer for several minutes before trying to stir, to avoid breaking them. When you stir, just fold your spoon over the bottom of the saucepan to move the meatballs around. Move the meatballs around several times, every 3-5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and let them cook for 30 minutes.

They are done when they feel firm and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serve as suggested above. As with any tomato based sauce, they do taste better the second day.  Make sure you have leftovers for lunch!

I saw Mario Batali use this technique on The Chew last year and have fallen in love with this method. There is no frying, no splattering of oil, no fretting over an even crust and it yields THE most tender meatballs.

The tomato in my breadless meatball sandwich is my first Pink Brandywine, it is an heirloom variety and has been very finicky with setting fruit but the flavor was worth the wait!

Pink Brandywine Tomato

Pink Brandywine Tomato