This blog does not need another post about meatballs, but this one is so different than the others I’ve carried on about that it is worth noting. I understand many Turkish people are Muslim, so I want to say straight out that the Turkish descriptor in the title refers to the spices and the way the meatballs are served and not the fact that I made them with pork, which I would not have done had I been able to get my hands on some ground lamb, so no disrespect intended.
These meatballs are dense, earthy and small. Perfect then for tucking into a warm piece of flatbread heavy with onions. This meal is not for the delicate; bite after bite will leave you with juice (from the meatballs, or maybe the pepper relish) trickling down your wrist. I promise you, you won’t care. The combination of the robust meatballs and tangy-sweet relish will leave you oblivious to a little stain on your shirt.
Turkish Meatballs with Warm Red Pepper Relish Recipe
Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 pieces Middle Eastern flatbread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, halved, then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
For the Red Pepper Relish:
- 1/2 cup finely chopped drained roasted red peppers
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Gently mix beef, pork, onion, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl. Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch diameter meatballs and place on a baking sheet.
- Heat oven to 300°F. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add flatbreads one at a time. Cook until toasted and brown, about 2 minutes per side. Wrap flatbreads in foil and place in oven to keep warm.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until caramelized and brown. Transfer to one side of a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown half of the meatballs on all sides until just cooked through (about 8 minutes), then place them on the baking sheet with the onions and return baking sheet to oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs, adding more oil if skillet seems dry.
For the Red Pepper Relish:
- In the same skillet, cook red peppers until heated through, about 1 minute. Add water and vinegar and bring to a simmer, scrapping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until reduced to 2/3 cup, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer onions and meatballs to a platter. Serve with flatbreads and relish and plain yogurt, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 567Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 524mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 43g
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