In honor of our annual Apple Harvest trip to Connecticut this weekend, it’s all about apples on the blog this week! First up is a simple, kid-friendly recipe: apple turkey meatballs. However, for a not so kid-friendly twist, I recommend serving these with my bourbon BBQ sauce from last week ?
Let’s talk about one of the best shows to watch over and over again: Gilmore Girls. Seriously, I have re-watched all the episodes (minus the newer mini-season on Netflix) at least four times, and each go around I’m more and more impressed by all the quick, witty banter. Even Bry (who has no room to judge as he’s watched the Office all the way through at least once a year since we’ve been together) has admitted that the script is pretty great. But what my Connecticut born-and-raised husband finds the most entertaining is how idyllic the show makes his home state look. Growing up watching Gilmore Girls, I was convinced that all of Connecticut was just these quaint little towns where everyone knew each other and they threw all these festivals in the town center. Turns out that’s not quite true. Except for Bry’s hometown during apple season.
As an apple valley town, Bry’s home town takes apple season pretty seriously. Everywhere you go there are apple cider donuts, apple pies, apple fritters, and, of course, just pure, delicious apples. There’s also a town festival with carnival rides, an apple pie eating contest, and food stalls selling their classic apple treats.
Now I love a good apple crumble, but my favorite use of apples is adding them into savory dishes. From harvest salads to grilled cheese, to pork, I find myself cooking with apples more often than baking with them. And this recipe is no exception.
These turkey meatballs are easiest to make if you have a food processor, but a cheese grater will work too. The first step is to grate about ½ a large apple to end up with ½ cup-worth of shredded apple. While any apple would work, I recommend using a tart apple with a lot of flavor, such as a Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Granny Smith. Next up is grating ½ cup-worth of parmesan cheese. As there aren’t a lot of ingredients in these meatballs, I recommend getting a good quality block of parmesan from the cheese counter at your grocery store. Finally, add some bread crumbs or pulsed oats (my preference), seasonings, an egg, and the ground turkey. Mix all this together well and then roll into small balls. For best flavor, I recommend browning the meatballs in a cast-iron pan and then transferring them to the oven for another 10 or so minutes until cooked through.
The first time I made these, I served them with roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts, then drizzled a cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar over the top. So good! But then, I decided to get even fancier and whip up a batch of bourbon BBQ sauce, and oh man. Bourbon + apple = heaven. Of course if you have kiddos, you can always serve these with regular BBQ sauce for dipping!
Be sure to check back Friday for a sweeter use of all those in-season apples!
Apple Turkey Meatballs
- 1/2 cup shredded apple about 1/2 of a tart apple, such as Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Honey Crisp
- 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pulsed oats breadcrumb-consistency (can also use breadcrumbs)
- 1 egg lightly whisked
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
- Pinch salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- To shred the apple, either use the shredder plate for your food processor or manually grate using a cheese grater. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add grated parmesan, pulsed oats (again, these can be made using a food processor), whisked egg, ground turkey, fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper. Form into small balls.
- Place oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, carefully place meatballs in pan, being careful not to overcrowd. If your pan isn’t big enough, you can split this up into two batches, using 1/2 Tbsp of oil per batch. Cook until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer skillet to oven (if oven-proof; otherwise transfer meatballs to a baking sheet) and cook another 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Remove meatballs from oven and serve with roasted vegetables and dipping sauce of choice. Enjoy!