Weekly Winner:  Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of….Turkey??

 Without a doubt, this was the tastiest and prettiest dish I made this week.  And it surprised the heck out of me.  This dish absolutely has no right whatsoever to be this good.  But it is!

First of all, the meatballs are turkey….. Turkey!  Not pork… not even beef …. but turkey!  There’s no super-savory additive, no umami-inducing bacon, soy sauce, or anything really.  The magic must lie in the fact that it is all done in one pan.  Which besides making sure all the flavor stays in one place, also makes it super easy!  The rice takes on a wonderful “pilaffy” aroma and taste.  There’s just enough lemon and garlic to make it savory, but not zingy or too acidic.

The recipe comes from Cook’s Country and as is the case with most of their recipes, it is flawless.  It’s perfectly tested, works beautifully and has a short, manageable list of ingredients.  But it tastes so much more complex than the sum of its parts.  It should be a decent dish.  However, there is no reason why it is as wonderfully tasty and comforting as it is.  I’m perplexed … but happily perplexed.  Try it and then explain to me what makes it so good!

Skillet Turkey Meatballs with Lemony Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts separated and sliced thin
  •  1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

Instructions

  1. Pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs, 10 to 15 pulses; transfer to large bowl. Add turkey, 2 tablespoons scallion greens, egg, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 20 portions (about 1 heaping tablespoon each). Roll into meatballs, transfer to plate, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in skillet.
  3. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 1 minute. Add scallion whites, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, lemon juice, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest and bring to boil.
  4. Return meatballs to skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, remaining scallion greens, and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.
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