Germany is a funny place, food-wise. It has some of the cheapest groceries in Europe and enthusiastically stocks shelves with gourmet delicacies from neighboring countries. You can eat very well for very little. Food shopping as an American in Berlin can be a little bewildering—it’s always an adventure. Need a can of rillettes? A brick of halloumi? Russian solyanka? Marcona almonds? Hungarian kabanos? How about some jicama or salsify? White asparagus? Venison shoulder? No problem.
But what if you just need a humble pound of ground chicken to make Smitten Kitchen’s chicken meatballs?
That’s a tall order. Certain American culinary trends haven’t caught on well here, and ground poultry is one of them. When I asked the butcher if she had any ground chicken, I got a brusque “That’s not something we carry.” (My friend, Robby, tells a funny story about how his simple inquiry about ground lamb prompted an angry diatribe about the unreasonable number of separate grinders required. But I digress.)
Anyway, I was not to be deterred. I finally tracked down some ground turkey and decided it would have to do. I needed those meatballs.
And oh, the meatballs. Delicious! Just as Deb promised, they’re moist, flavorful, and—yep—vaguely cheesy (despite not containing a lick of cheese). I think the pancetta and tomato paste give them that delectable hit of umami. These are good.
Rumor has it they’re also delicious cold, straight from the fridge. But what was it Reagan said? “Trust but verify”? Go on!
Because my grocer sells ground turkey in 3/4 lb. packages, I had to buy two. The following recipe has been scaled up and makes a lot of meatball mix. You can either halve it, or make a make a separate meatloaf for another meal, as I did. Two birds, one stone.
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
-5 slices Italian bread, crumbled into small pieces (I used stale homemade oatmeal white bread)
-1/2 c. milk
-3 oz. pancetta, or uncooked bacon or turkey bacon, diced
-1 sm. onion, finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (lean is OK)
-1 egg, lightly beaten (two are pictured in photo)
-4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
-1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped, optional
-good pinch red pepper flake
-3 Tbsp. tomato paste, divided
-1 Tbsp. olive oil
-salt and pepper, to taste
1. Put the bread pieces in a large mixing bowl and drizzle them with the milk. Let sit while you follow the next step. (more…)