I love meatballs. And according to Wikipedia, the rest of the world does too. For me, they remind me of my childhood. My mom would make large batches of red sauce that would simmer all day, filling the house with a wonderful aroma. While the sauce was cooking, we’d spend a couple of hours making meatballs and dumping them into the sauce for added flavor. Our efforts were rewarded with a large spaghetti and meatball dinner and the remaining sauce and meatballs were frozen, leaving us with a supply of red sauce for at least 6 months.
I developed this recipe as a test for future invites to summer barbecues and parties (of which my phone has been silent – weird) and liked it so much that it became a regular staple to our dinner rotation. Much of the flavor is developed by combining ground pork and turkey together (you could easily substitute beef, lamb, or chicken as well). With a little bit of prep, this meal will finish in the slow cooker to finish the product leaving you to enjoy the warm summer nights.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 eggs
- 1 20oz can diced tomatoes
- 3/4c Vidalia onion, minced
- 1/4c + 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika (sweet or hot, your choice)
- Rustic bread (for serving)
1. Plug in your slow cooker. In a bowl, combine turkey, pork, breadcrumbs, eggs, cumin, paprika, parsley, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4c of the minced onion. Used a wooden spoon to combine mixture.
2. Shape approximately 20 meatballs and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat (a 7 on the dial). Working in batches, brown meatballs on all sides. In between batches, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Note: I used a medium ice cream scoop to portion out meatballs. It’s quick and easy and you are guaranteed to have the same sized meatballs every time.
3. When the meatballs are completed, add the onion to the pan and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the tomatoes (with juices) and scrape up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste (it should not require much, if any).
4. Add the tomato mixture and meatballs to a slow cooker. Turn to low and cook for 5 hours until the meatballs are tender.
5. Serve hot with rustic bread.