Ah, backlog, I hardly knew ye. I made this dish the last time my in-laws came to visit, over the summer. In that sense it is kind of special. My father-in-law had quite the health scare while he was in Greece visiting family this fall. As of this writing he is doing much better, but this dish was the last thing that I fed him before his trip and I'm feeling grateful for the opportunity. Maybe I'm just feeling sentimental on the subject today, who knows. At any rate, greens are readily available in the fall so I suppose that it isn't necessarily inappropriate for the season and I don't feel nearly as bad.
I'd purchased a large amount of dill to go along with my pickling adventures, and I'm not sure if I've posted about those yet. If not, I will on a rainy day when the dog is too mopey to nag me about walking. I hadn't expected really to cook for my in-laws that day so I was kind of in a tizzy, going with whatever I had on hand. I could always replace the dill later or so I thought, so I just went with it. My father-in-law like my husband is exceedingly fond of dill anyway, so it was nice to be able to give him such a dill-involved dish. The greens and the fresh onions came from our farm share, which is now done for the season and which I miss already. I used turkey for the meatballs because - well, I like turkey meat in general. It's light but has a flavor of its own, but it does have a tendency to dry out if you're not careful. A little more oil than I would usually use is acceptable here.
Turkey Meatballs with Greens and Dill (serves 6; approx. $2.25/serving)
1 pound ground turkey (dark meat will yield a more flavorful product)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 fresh red onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Leaves from one bunch chard, chopped
1 bunch mizuna, chopped
1 1/2 bunches dill, washed and chopped
- Large, deep saute pan
- Mixing bowl
- Food processor
- Combine the onion, garlic and cinnamon in the food processor and process to a chunky paste. Don't strive too hard for perfection here. The important thing is to be able to incorporate these vegetables into the meatballs easily, not make a curry.
- Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl. Add the meat and egg. Use your hands to knead until everything is well combined.
- Form the meat into small balls about the size of walnuts.
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the meatballs and fry until cooked. Add more oil if you need to. Work in batches if your pan is not big enough to fit all the meatballs in without crowding. Evacuate the cooked meatballs to a plate and keep warm, usually by inverting another plate on top of them. This actually works, believe it or not.
- Add fresh onions and sliced garlic to the pan. Saute until softened.
- Add the greens and the dill to the pan. There should be enough fat and liquid from the meatballs and water from washing the greens that you will not need to add anything else. Saute the greens until wilted. My in-laws like their greens to be very, very wilted; I would usually prefer them to retain their shape a little better if I were just cooking for the three of us.
- Arrange the greens around the edge of your serving platter.
- Arrange the meatballs in the center of the platter.