I have a confession. Prior to creating this recipe, I’d never made meatballs before. I’ve eaten Russian meatballs, Italian meatballs, matzah balls, you name it. I helped my grandma make frikadelki when I was a kid, I helped my mom make matzoh balls for most of my life, and I’ve eaten a LOT of excellent Italian food since The Boyfriend and I started dating, but I’d never actually made meatballs on my own. I have to say, I am pleased as punch with myself for how these breadcrumb-free turkey meatballs packed with scallions turned out!
I got 21 medium-sized meatballs from 2 lbs of turkey, perfect for two hungry grown-ups and a few extras for breakfast leftovers. Adjust proportions accordingly.
2 lbs ground turkey
2 large eggs
12-15 scallions (~ 4 oz)
1.5 cups pork rind “breadcrumbs” (details below)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp bacon fat (or equivalent)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Large non-stick pan
Place several handfuls of pork rinds (I really like Epic brand) in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse in 10-15 second intervals until pork rinds resemble breadcrumbs. Repeat until you have at least 1.5 cups of “pork crumbs” – I usually use up the entire bag so I can store the extras and use as I please, but if you just want enough for this recipe, that’s okay too. If you’re making extra, store in an airtight container.
From the scallions, remove the “hairy” end and any wilted tips. I usually peel off and completely remove the outermost layer from the scallion, but if you don’t feel like dealing with it, a good scrub is just fine too. Thinly slice scallions (yep, the white part too) and set aside.
In your food processor, combine the ground turkey, salt, celery salt, pepper, garlic, scallions, and eggs. Blend until mostly uniform – it’s a fine line between mixed and mushy, and you can always do more by hand, so pay careful attention. Remove the turkey mixture to a large bowl. Add 1.5 cups “pork crumbs” and mix until uniform, a large baking spatula is great for this (my food processor came with one, see link above).
Prepare to get messy! Using a tablespoon (the regular dining kind) and your hands, form the turkey mixture into round meatballs. Place on a large cutting board or plate to set. Let the meatballs rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes – this will help them stay together.
Pre-heat oven to 400*F.
Grease a large, oven-safe pan with bacon fat, non-stick spray, or oil and set aside. Note: I usually just use a metal cookie sheet, but for this recipe I whipped out the big Pyrex with actual sides to prevent my meatballs from rolling all over the place.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan at medium heat.
Working in batches, brown the meatballs – about 1 minute on each “side”. They don’t have to be perfectly brown the whole way around, but getting a good sear on at least two “sides” will lock in some great flavor just like with a steak. Place browned meatballs in rows on oven-safe pan.
Bake meatballs in 400*F oven for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165*F.
Serve immediately. (I dipped them in a little bit of creamy horseradish sauce. Amazeballs!)