Turkey Meatballs with Polenta
Chef Jet Tila
Modern Asian Kitchen
Chef Jet Tila, a restaurateur, TV celeb and member of the Schwan’s Chef Collective, gives meatballs a healthier profile by blending ground turkey with ground beef. For a unique variation, he serves the meatballs on a bed of creamy polenta, topped with a ladle of housemade tomato sauce.
3 slices wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed
1/3 cup milk
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup finely chopped onion
1¼ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crumbled
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground pepper, to taste
1. For meatballs: Preheat oven to 350 F. Tear bread into small pieces and place in large bowl. Pour milk over bread and let stand 5 to 10 minutes until milk is almost absorbed.
2. In same bowl, combine turkey, beef, onion, ¼ cup Parmesan, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Work mixture together until just combined; do not overmix.
3. Form meat into 24 golf ball-size rounds. In large skillet, heat ¼ inch olive oil. Add meatballs in batches. Cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer meatballs to rectangular baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
4. Meanwhile, prepare polenta: In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add salt and gradually stir in polenta while constantly whisking. Continue whisking until polenta is smooth and starts to thicken.
5. Reduce heat to low; cook about 30 minutes until tender and creamy, stirring often. Stir in butter and Parmesan cheese until thoroughly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. To serve, heat the tomato sauce. On each of eight plates, spoon about 1 cup polenta; place 3 meatballs on top. Ladles about ½ cup tomato sauce over meatballs. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Photo courtesy of Schwan’s Chef Collective