If there’s one thing that I love most about colder weather, it’s the return of comfort food. I love those warm, cozy dishes that are meant to warm both your belly and your soul, particularly now that there’s a noticeable nip of wintertime in the evening air as I make my way home from the office.
As it turns out, the Turkey Farmers of Canada are really big fans of comfort food too. This week, they’re challenging several Canadian bloggers to share a favourite comfort food recipe they’ve made using turkey, to show how versatile and tasty turkey really is… plus, they’re throwing in a prize kit to help one lucky reader cook up their own healthy comfort food makeover!
For my recipe, I chose one of my all-time favourite comfort foods: meatballs. More specifically, I decided to try a healthier take on Swedish Meatballs, which are traditionally made with a blend of pork and beef, and pan-fried to crispy deliciousness before being smothered in a delicious creamy pan gravy. Delicious? Yes. Healthy? Not so much.
To make my healthy turkeyfied version, I used lean ground turkey as the base for my meatballs, and then oven-baked them to cut back on some of the fat. Don’t worry, though… there’s still plenty of guilty goodness left in the sauce, which I decided to leave mostly unchanged, right down to the full-fat sour cream. A girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere, after all.
I’ll admit, the end result isn’t exactly like the meatballs you might have had at your friendly local Swedish furniture shop, but it’s pretty darn close – the meatballs come out tender and juicy with a hint of nutmeg and allspice, and the sauce is just as rich, thick and creamy as always. In fact, the sauce is so good, you’ll probably be fighting the urge to lick the plate clean when you’re done.
Serve the meatballs on a big pile of wide egg noodles, or pair them with potatoes (mashed or boiled, whatever’s your preference). However you choose to serve them, just make sure to spoon lots of rich gravy overtop, and don’t forget to add a generous dollop of tangy lingonberry jam or cranberry jelly on the side.
(And yes, go ahead and lick the plate. I promise not to judge you.)
Disclosure: I received compensation from the Turkey Farmers of Canada in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are entirely my own.
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tbsp canola oil, divided
- 1 large onion, finely minced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 lbs lean ground turkey
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup sour cream
- Salt, to taste
- Lingonberry, cranberry or redcurrant jelly , for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
- Mix breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl. Set aside for about 10-15 minutes to allow the bread to completely absorb the milk.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in 1 tbsp canola oil until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. Add the soaked breadcrumbs and cooled onions. Using hands, mix well until everything is well combined.
- Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out and roll the meat mixture into balls, transferring the shaped meatballs to the prepared baking sheet (meatballs should be fairly close together, but not touching). You should have roughly 50-60 meatballs.
- Lightly coat the meatballs with cooking spray or brush with canola oil. Bake in preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until centre is cooked through and tops are lightly browned. (If the meatballs still look a little pale, broil them for 5 minutes or until they take on a little colour.)
- While the meatballs are baking, begin on the sauce.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat, and add butter. Once butter is melted and foamy, whisk in the flour until smooth paste forms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until sauce is thick and glossy, then remove from heat and whisk in sour cream.
- Add the cooked meatballs to the pan and stir until well coated with sauce. Serve immediately with a generous dollop of lingonberry sauce.