Paul and I have quite small immediate families so when the holidays come around doing a big turkey always seems kinda wasteful and like a whole lot of work. A couple of years ago (actually it was the first year I started eating meat again after being a vegetarian for 4 years) we were having Paul's parents over for Christmas dinner and because it was just going to be the four of us a turkey seemed a little extravagant.
Since I started eating meat again I have been very particular on the type of meat I will eat. I will only buy meat from our local butcher and a couple of smaller market like grocery stores that carry grass-fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, free range, pesticide free, locally raised island meats. It is extremely important to me that if I am going to put a meat in my body it has to be raised and supported ethically, cruelty free and given the best life it can possibly have under the circumstance.
The reason I had stopped eating meat in the first place all those years ago was because I didn't want the added hormones and pesticides in my body that are given to the animals like candy. As the years went on not only did that become an important factor into my vegetarianism but after seeing movies and reading articles on the brutality the generic farm animals are put through for mass production of meat my heart ached and it also started becoming about the lives of the animals, how they are raised, the conditions they are brought up in and the love they are given on a daily basis.
My decision to start eating meat again didn't come easy or lightly. It was something that I tossed and turned about for a long time but it was something my body was craving and after some research I found an amazing little butcher in my area and I found out that a couple of the market grocery stores I shop at on a weekly basis all carried meat free of all the nasties that usually go into the animals, they were locally raised on the island and grass-fed.
You can read more on my journey with starting to eat meat again here, the hows, the whys, the details. Like I said it wasn't a decision that I made lightly and I had a lot of guilt in the beginning but I also came to the realization that we have enough guilt in our daily lives (read my meat article to really understand what I mean) that what we choose to put into our bodies shouldn't be one of them as long as it is a mindful conscious choice.
An expert from my above blog post on why I started eating meat again:
“I said goodbye to labels and not just in my diet but in every aspect of my life, they do nothing but constrict, stress, suffocate, keep us boxed in, feeling restricted and wreak havoc on our entire being, which, with what I know to be true is much worse for our wellness than eating that grass-fed, organic, super moist, roast chicken!”
Alright, so this post got a little heavier than I had expected it to be, really these meatballs are delicious, made with the cleanest turkey and the freshest herbs (keyword being fresh), every time I have made them they have been devoured within minutes. They taste like a turkey dinner all rolled into one and if you are having a smaller family dinner they might just be the perfect alternative to a big turkey. Or maybe you are just making these bad boys on a Monday night, they don’t have to be rolled (pun intended) into the holidays, they are seriously good any day and time of the week/year.
SAGE, THYME, APPLE TURKEY MEATBALLS with a SOY, MAPLE GLAZE
1 ½ pounds of ground organic Turkey
1 red apple (I kept the skin on)
1 small white onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of fresh chopped sage
2 tbsp of fresh chopped thyme
½ cup of parmesan cheese
½ cup of panko bread crumbs
¼ tsp of salt
¼ tsp of pepper
maple, soy glaze
¾ cup of pure maple syrup
½ cup of soy sauce
3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
In a small sauce pan add the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and then bring the heat down to a simmer stirring every few minutes for 15-20 minutes. You want the glaze to reduce and thicken to a little thicker than a syrup consistency (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon). Take off the heat once you get the right consistency and set aside.
Add the fresh ground turkey to a large bowl.
Cut the apple into small pieces, grate the Parmesan cheese, mince the onion and garlic and chop the herbs, throw all of the ingredients in with the ground turkey and mix. Add two eggs and the panko bread crumbs and mix until the mixture comes together, adding more bread crumbs if the mixture seems too moist.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the turkey mixture into small even sized balls and place on the parchment paper (This just keeps them from sticking to the counter or a plate.
Heat an oven safe pan on medium to high heat. Add about 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Place the meatballs into the pan and fry each ball so it has a nice colour and crisp to the outside, about one minute on each side. Once they are browned place the pan into the oven for 10 minutes.
After ten minutes take the pan out of the oven and pour the maple soy glaze over top and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with a nice French loaf of bread.