For this month’s Five Star Cooking theme, I made a very different kind of meatballs. Instead of soft and juicy, these are crunchy and crusted, with a tint of sweetness from pieces of dates. The yogurt sauce drizzled on top balances out the texture. Surprisingly, this is now my favorite kind of meatballs.
Crinkle Meatballs with Turkey and Date
from Food and Wine
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 6 dates, pitted and finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- In a bowl, combine the ground turkey with the bread crumbs, dates, eggs, sesame seeds, sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover the lentils, garlic, thyme and cinnamon stick with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl; pick out and discard the seasonings. Stir the olive oil and vinegar into the lentils and season with salt and pepper.
- Form the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Spread the meatballs on a lightly oiled large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned on the bottom and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, blend the yogurt with the lemon juice, mint and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs with the lentils and yogurt.