Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe Share (Have Fun With Your Food): Turkey Meatballs with "Cream" Sauce (dairy, gluten and egg free)

So, I've had this problem since my son had to give up garlic with the allergies.  I do NOT want to have garlic in the house to avoid cross contamination, but I still wanted a dairy sauce to go on things like, oh pizza, pasta, rice...anything...that would also TASTE good without garlic in it.  Honestly?  I wasn't having much luck.  And then, I went gluten free and I'm supposed to focus on coconut milk instead of cow milk for the sake of my own diet.  THAT I'll keep in the house because I know my son won't touch it (he's allergic to coconut, but just out and out doesn't like it anyway...garlic on the other hand, not so much).  So, I started messing around with coconut milk sauces, but they weren't thick and creamy enough.  And then, I had an epiphany.  Why not use the coconut cream like they do in all the desserts that are all over the blogosphere right now? And it worked!

Just a note you are going to have to get a good quality coconut milk to make this work as you are going to separate the cream from the milk.  Most blogs suggest Thai Kitchen brand (only use the coconut milk in a can for this!), but I've found that I like Native Forest Organic Classic Coconut Milk for this and it works slick (and through Amazon it runs about 2.00 per can where Thai Kitchen Brand was running about 4.00 per can at Fred Meyers last time I checked).

This recipe does contain poultry, obviously, but I was able to get it down to gluten, dairy and egg free.  Feel free to serve this over quinoa, lentils or anything else you'd like as well (we served ours over rice pasta).  My husband, who is NOT a big fan of coconut liked this recipe and actually asked for seconds.  Warning if you use the whole 20 oz of ground turkey that normally comes in a package of turkey...this makes a LOT of meatballs (I filled up 1 1/2 nine by thirteen pans with meatballs by the time I was done), although they are darn tasty in their own right.  I reduced down the amounts in the recipe to accommodate just a pound of turkey, so if you go with the recipe use about 3/4 of a 20 oz container if you want to follow it exact (or just up the amounts of the bread crumbs and such...meatballs are very forgiving that way :).

So, here you go folks.  Turkey Meatballs with "Cream" Sauce.  Enjoy it (I sure am...I'm going to even have some of the leftovers for lunch!).

Turkey Meatballs With "Cream" Sauce
(Egg, Gluten and Dairy Free)

For the Meatballs:
  • 16 oz. Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan "Cheese" (recipe follows)
  • 1 TBS Chia Seed (you can also use flax seed)
  • 3 TBS Water
  • 1 Small Shallot, minced and preferably ground up (I just used a meat mallet and took it to the finely minced shallot to make it into shallot "paste" do not want big chunks of shallot let's put it that way).  You can also use 1 to 2 cloves of garlic mashed and minced if you can do garlic.
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (I use OrgraN All Purpose Rice Crumbs and love them!).  If you can't do grains, I'd try almond meal, but I haven't tried this yet myself.
  • 1/2 Tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper (a couple of good pinches of each)

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Can Coconut Milk put in fridge for at least 8 hours (preferably the day before you make this just stick the can in the fridge.  It'll work slick, promise.) 
  • 4 Big Leaves of FRESH Basil (dried don't cut it for this recipe...just trust me on this) or 6 small leaves (I used about 1/2 of a container of the pre-packaged type Fred Meyer or Carrs sells).
  • 1 Small Jar of Pimentos, drained
  • 1/4 Tsp. Paprika
  • Couple of good pinches of sea salt (just do it to taste...I like to make my sauce a little on the salty side to counteract the sweet from the coconut milk, but if you like sweet go with it!)
  • Couple of good pinches coarse ground black pepper

Step One:  Prepare the meatballs.

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare your parmesan "cheese" mix (see recipe at bottom)

2.  Blend Chia Seed in coffee grinder for a few pulses to make a sort of "Chia Meal" (you don't HAVE to do this, but I didn't want chunks of chia seed showing up as you were chewing on a meatball).  Mix the "chia meal" with the 3 TBS water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes and you'll find that it gels up to an egg consistency.  This acts as the "egg binder" for your meatballs in the recipe.  If you can tolerate eggs (or have them in the house, which I did not) use an egg.

3.  Mix turkey, chia egg, parmesan "cheese", bread crumbs, shallot, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl and squish with your hands (best tool there is for this).  Once the meat is well mixed (if it turns out to be really squishy and wet add more parmesan "cheese" or bread want the consistency of damp play doh, not toothpaste), form into 1 inch balls and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the middle of the meatballs register at least 181 degrees on an instant read thermometer and the bottoms are browned. 

Step Two:  Prepare the Sauce

1.  Remove Coconut Cream from can (the cream scoops out like Crisco).  Reserve the liquid left in the bottom of the can.  Place the solid state cream in small saucepan over low heat (to melt the cream).

2.  Roll Basil leaves into a log and then cut the "log" into small slices (it'll make basil confetti).

3.  Once coconut cream is melted, add about 1/2 of the reserved coconut liquid left from the can and mix well.  Raise heat to medium high.
4.  Add basil, pimentos, salt, pepper and paprika.  Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes (just to get the flavors to meld and cook off your added coconut liquid.  I just put mine on a simmer and let it roll while the meatballs were baking and the pasta was getting ready.  Once it tastes good to you and as thick as you like just slap a lid on it, turn off the heat and you're done until the next step).  Stir often.

5.  When the meatballs are ready, add as many meatballs as you want to your cream mixture and taking a large spoon GENTLY mix them together (you don't want to rip apart your meatballs).  I know you'll be tempted to just put the cream sauce over the meatballs, but trust me, once the meatballs sit in the sauce for a few moments it'll reach new heights of yummy as the nutmeg and other goodness from the meatballs meld with the cream sauce.

6.  Serve over rice pasta, quinoa or other side of choice and feel free to sprinkle more of the Parmesan "cheese" over it if you wish (I thought it was fine without and so did my husband).  I just mixed the rice pasta (that just plain started to fall apart on me) into the sauce to serve because it was just easier for me and it ended up absorbing the cream sauce too was still yummy, but next time I'm serving this over quinoa *laugh*.

Parmesan "Cheese" Recipe
(adapted from Alaska Vegetarian Society to be garlic free).
  • 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Meal
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt 
Blend items together in a blender for a few pulses to incorporate and store in fridge.  Use as needed as a Parmesan cheese replacement.

And there you are folks.  My recipe share for today.  I'm off to eat my leftovers :).  Enjoy!

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