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  • {Healthy Holidays} Hard Cider and Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs

    Tuesday, December 4, 2018

    hard cider and cranberry glazed turkey meatballs
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    I love a good party…particularly one that turns into a partay. As someone who gets lots of great energy from people, there’s nothing I love more around the holidays than hosting a soiree at our place.

    So I could not have been more excited when I received an invitation from ABC’s KATU AM Northwest to join them on-air to share some of my favorite New Years Eve worthy party appetizers. All with a healthy twist, of course, because, you know, that’s what I do around here :).

    First up, sweet and tangy meatballs. And I’m not talking about your mother’s grape jelly and chili sauce. (No offence Mom). This recipe is a bit more, shall we say, sophisticated (well, as sophisticated as a meatball can get) and is full of seasonal flavors and spice. The secret to making them tangy? Tamarind paste, which is a tart (bordering on sour) paste that lends Pad Thai its distinctive flavor. Toss in a few cranberries and a bottle of the driest hard cider you can get your hands on and you’re on your way to what is sure to be a standard go-to in your party food repertoire.

    Hard cider and cranberry glazed turkey meatballs

    As for the turkey, go for a 85-90% lean instead of breast, which doesn’t have enough fat to stand up to what is essentially a twice-baked meatball. Wondering if you could use cranberry sauce instead of fresh whole cranberries? Sure! Just wait until the ingredients all come together before you add the coconut sugar (chances are you’ll want to reduce the amount a bit to make for the sugar in the prepared cranberry sauce). I prefer fresh cranberries for a couple of reasons. First, it allows me to control the amount (and type) of sugar I use in the recipe and going the fresh route also provides a bit more clarity in the flavor of the finished dish.

    Once you’ve glazed the meatballs and they’re ready to go, you can transfer them to a slow cooker set on the lowest possible setting to keep them warm. Be sure to provide toothpicks on the side for quick serving.

    Wondering how many appetizers you’ll need for a cocktail party? This handy dandy little equation will help (WARNING: math ahead!):

    12 pieces per person times the number of people divided by the number of different appetizers.

    Oh, and make your life SO much easier by preparing the recipe up through baking the meatballs up to a couple of days before the party. Go YOU! (and have an extra glass of champagne as a reward for being prepared…and doing a little math along the way).

    {Healthy Holidays} Hard Cider and Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs

    servings: Makes about 28 meatballs | time: less than an hour (meatballs can be baked up to two days before the party)

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    3/4 pound 85-90% lean ground turkey

    1 egg

    1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

    1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    1/4 tsp. ginger

    1/2 tsp. garlic powder

    1/4 of a medium white onion, grated (save the rest for later in the recipe)

    1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs (feel free to use regular if you are not sensitive to gluten)

    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 TBSP. dried)

    2 TBSP olive oil

    3/4 of a medium white onion, chopped

    1 large clove garlic, chopped

    Big pinch of salt

    12 ounces of dry hard cider

    1 cup fresh cranberries

    1/2 cup + 2 TBSP. coconut sugar

    1 TBSP. tamarind paste

    Water or chicken stock as needed (you may have to thin the sauce as it cooks down and glazes the meatballs)


    Preheat oven to 350. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside

    1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients up through the parsley
    2. Form mixture into small meatballs (about 1 TBSP. of the mixture per meatball)
    3. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. You can prepare and cook the meatballs up to 2-days prior to the party. Cover and stored cooked meatballs in the fridge.
    4. In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes
    5. Add the salt, cider, cranberries and tamarind paste. Stir well to combine and reduce heat to low to simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. The cranberries will begin to burst and the pectin will begin to thicken the sauce
    6. Once the sauce has thickened, add the cooked turkey meatballs. Toss to coat and cook over low heat until they are heated through and the sauce is sticking to them (about 5 minutes)
    7. Serve immediately or transfer to a slow cooker set at the lowest possible setting to keep them warm


    2 responses to “{Healthy Holidays} Hard Cider and Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs”

    1. Amy says:

      Nancy! I saw you cook this on KATU2. What a great segment. You make it look so easy….and delicious! I am looking forward to passing this recipe along to my friends at Poverty Lane Orchards and Farnum Hill Cider!!! Thank you!!

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