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Moroccan Turkey Meatballs

Meaty turkey meatballs seasoned with ginger, coriander, cinnamon and other Moroccan spices in a saffron tomato broth inspired by America's Test Kitchen.
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 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (total)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 tsp anchovy paste
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 onion, chopped finely
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled


1. Put the bread crumbs into a large bowl with the gelatin, 2 TBSP of the cilantro, 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. Pulse carrots and anchovies in food processor until carrots are chopped fine, 10 to 15 pulses.

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

4. Divide mixture into 16 portions (about 1/4 cup each). Using your hands, roll each portion into ball; transfer meatballs to plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

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

6. Add tomato paste, ginger, and onion 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.

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

9. Transfer meatballs to platter, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer sauce until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

10. Pour sauce over meatballs, garnish with remaining 2 TBSP cilantro, and serve over couscous or rice.

Notes & Tips

Great as an entree with rice or couscous or as an appetizer served on picks.

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