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Moroccan Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs seasoned with ginger, coriander, cinnamon and other Moroccan spices in a saffron tomato broth.
Moroccan Turkey Meatballs

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Servings: 4
Total Time: 1 hour
Recipe by: Rae


1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 pkg unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (total)
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 TBSP paprika (total)
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (total)
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 onion, peeled and cut 1 inch x 1/2 inch slices
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
tiny pinch saffron threads, crumbled
1/3 cup green olives, sliced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice


1. Put the bread crumbs into a large bowl with the gelatin, 2 TBSP of the cilantro, the parsley, 2 tsp paprika, cumin, coriander, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp of the cayenne and mix until thoroughly combined.

2. Add turkey and egg to bowl with bread-crumb mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.

3. Divide mixture into 12 portions (about 1/4 cup each). Using your hands, roll each portion into a ball; transfer meatballs to plate, drizzle with 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

4. Heat 2 TBSP of the oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add meatballs and cook, turning often, until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate, leaving fat in the skillet.

5. Add tomato paste, ginger, onion, and carrot to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to high; add broth, saffron, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, remaining 1 tsp paprika, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon cayenne; and bring to simmer.

6. Return meatballs to skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until meatballs register 160 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes, turning meatballs once halfway through.

7. Transfer meatballs to platter, add the green olives, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer sauce until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed.

8. Pour sauce over meatballs, garnish with remaining 2 TBSP cilantro.


Great as an entree served with rice or couscous.

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Moroccan Turkey Meatballs

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