Kids are weird. Some are picky eaters. They'll only eat a small handful of foods and won't deviate from that list. My sister was one of those. Despite being raised on the same foods and with the same expectations she had a list of about twelve things she would eat and she didn't put anything else into her mouth until she went to college. Others just won't try anything new and will resist any new foods until they've been force-fed them something like ten times. I'm very lucky. Mine is pretty open-minded about food. She'll try anything unless she knows she's allergic to it. She's not interested in bland food, she doesn't care for things that don't have flavor. She loves things that other kids seem to have been taught to abhor, like sushi and tofu and beans and vegetables. She does have her foibles, though. Someone told her at some point that she doesn't like spicy food (I have my suspicions as to who that might have been.) And she has never, not once, liked meatballs.
That's not true. She doesn't like the idea of meatballs. If we put them in front of her and tell her "this is beef" or "this is turkey" or "this is fish" she's fine. I think it's the idea of just "meat" that she doesn't like, the idea of something unidentified that she's expected to swallow without question. Come to think of it, now that I see it written out like that, it's not a bad way to go through life. I hope she doesn't get over it. She's too smart for us to just tell her it's kofte or anything like that, too. We have to say "It's turkey."
This is a meal we made the day after Thanksgiving. Since we didn't make Thanksgiving dinner at home we weren't burdened with an excess of turkey leftovers nor with an abhorrence of turkey, so that's what I made. The squash and kale were from my frenzied dash to the market to stock up on ALL THE THINGS before Thanksgiving. I'm also very fond of kale, I must admit. The spicing for the meatballs kind of came into my head randomly; it's what I like, especially the cardamom, but I didn't want it to be overwhelming.
On the whole we liked this dish very much. Fearless Toddler didn't catch on to the fact that her turkey was in ball form.
Turkey Meatballs with Squash and Kale (serves 4; approx. $3.33/serving)
1 pound ground turkey (I like dark meat or a mix, but you can use turkey breast if you prefer. It will be drier.)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 kabocha squash, peeled and diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
- Large, deep saute pan with a lid
- Two plates
- Mixing bowl
- Slotted spoon
- Slotted spatula
- Combine the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs and spices in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to knead into a uniform mass.
- Form balls about the size of walnuts out of your turkey lump. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the meatballs. Brown them in the pan and evacuate them to a plate with the slotted spatula. Work in batches if you need to; overcrowding will not be helpful to you or to the meatballs.
- Add the onions. Saute until soft.
- Add the squash pieces. Saute briefly, until they start to brown a little bit.
- Add the broth and bring to a boil.
- Cover and let sit until the squash is tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Uncover and add the meatballs back to the pan. Cook about 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add the kale. Cook until wilted.
- Serve hot.