Spicy Poached Meatballs

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On days like today- grey, damp and generally downbeat- I want food that is going to warm me, hug me and tell me it’s all going to be alright. But being January there is a part of my brain which is trying to resist frying everything in sight. So I am trying to enjoy my comfort food with a slightly healthier edge.

As cooking methods go, I am pretty new to the poaching party. I don’t know why but I have only really embraced it in the past year or so. So now I like to poach chicken thighs for pies and stews as they then stand up to the extra cooking without going chewy. I am also aware that it can be a healthier alternative to frying so I decide to approach meatballs in a new way.

Raw meatballsNormally my meatballs are fatty pork, browned in the frying pan and finished in the oven. I fancied making a spicier version today, so decided to give minced turkey a go. Not the sexiest ingredient ever I agree, but turkey is a lean, lower fat meat and its relative blandness (in my opinion at least) means that it takes the flavour of the spices really well. The colour of the finished dish isn’t what you expect from a meatball- they were quite light with a yellow tinge from the turmeric- but don’t let this put you off.

Using my favourite go-to mix of spices and poaching the balls in a low-salt chicken stock I managed to create a really tasty, economical meal, which gave the requisite hug without the greasy guilt.

Spicy Poached Meatballs

Makes 24 meatballs

450g minced turkey

1 egg

Large handful of bread crumbs (I use mine straight from the freezer)

1 tsp cumin powder

1tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chilli powder (mine is a really heaped spoon)

½ tsp turmeric

Poached meatballs

  • Pulse all of the ingredients together in a food processor (or mix in a large bowl)
  • With cold, damp hands, roll into around 24 equal size balls
  • Bring a large pan of stock to a boil and gently lower in as many meatballs will comfortably fit- I got 12 in to mine
  • Bring back to the boil and then allow to simmer- the balls come to the top as they start to float
  • Check after 10 minutes- if you overcook they will become rubbery. Mine took about 14 minutes
  • Remove with a slotted spoon

Serve as you wish – I dished up mine with some pasta in spicy sauce. I froze the twelve which I didn’t cook and will defrost them before poaching them.

Finished meatballs

So good they should have a halo!

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