Friday, February 8, 2013

Turkey Spanakopita Meatballs

i really like spanakopita. but let's be real - nobody has mastered gluten free phyllo dough, and i don't expect it to happen anytime soon. in the meantime, we eat turkey spanakopita burgers and meatballs around here. it's not the same...but it has similar flavors, and my husband and i both really love them. i'm definitely going to make them with lamb when i can get my hands on some ground lamb too. these meatballs are simply ground turkey, amazing seasoning, salty feta cheese, and spinach. i've made meatballs here, but you can also make it into patties and eat it on buns.
turkey spanakopita meatballs

1 pound ground turkey (or lamb!)
10 ounces frozen, thawed, and thoroughly drained spinach
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 egg
1.5 tsp dried dill
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper  (or to taste)
1 tbls dried parsley
1 tsp 21 seasoning salute from trader joe's (this is just a great all purpose seasoning that includes some orange peel. if you don't have a TJ's nearby or this seasoning doesn't do it for you, just omit it or replace it with your favorite all purpose or grill-type seasoning.)

gently combine all ingredients. fold the mixture together, rather than thoroughly mixing. thoroughly mixing will lead to mushy meat. 

simply form into 1.5 inch balls (or hamburger sized patties) and place into very hot oil in a skillet until browned. flip each meatball so the other side can brown. place the meatballs onto a greased or lined baking sheet after they've browned. 

once you've cooked all the meatballs this way and they're all on the baking sheet, place them in the oven at 400 degrees for about ten minutes. this will allow them to finish cooking the rest of the way through, without overbrowning them in the skillet or drying out. 
cut open one of the larger meatballs after ten minutes to check for any pinkness in the center of the meat. if it's still pink, just let the tray bake for another 2-4 minutes. if you made patties, you probably can skip the baking part.

we love these around here, and one pound made about two dozen meatballs for us. we served it with storebought tzatziki sauce (greek cucumber yogurt sauce) and roasted potatoes and carrots. these meatballs reheat fabulously too, and they're great hot or at room temperature. they would make very good appetizers for a party or packed into a bento lunch.

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