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Friday, August 10, 2007

I Hate Turkey

Well, okay. I don't really hate turkey. I'm just learning that turkey has its place and there are places where it definitely doesn't belong.

Let me explain. Kevin does not eat any red meat or pork at all. He does love spaghetti and meatballs though. In the past few years I have always made my meatballs with turkey.

Lately I have become fascinated with Italian meatball recipes. I drool over them. I don't want to make meatballs. I want to make polpette. I don't want to make balls of meat and bread that are nothing more than a side attraction to the spaghetti. I want to make meatballs that are the star of the show and the pasta is just a side dish to soak up some of the extra sauce.

I have experimented with several meatball recipes, but none of them were ever to my satisfaction. Every meatball recipe I used had one thing in common. I had to substitute the meat in the recipe with turkey. Polpette aren't made with turkey. They are made with beef or pork or veal. Ground turkey - even the dark meat variety - tends to be dry and tasteless when rolled into a meatball and left to cook in tomato sauce. I now realize that there is no way to get those hearty robust flavors unless I'm willing to nix the turkey.

Last night I wised up. This month's Food & Wine magazine had a tasty-looking recipe for Sicilian meatballs that contained pine nuts and currants. I was going to make it my way and I was determined to improve on it rather than worsen it by using turkey. I went to the meat counter and purchased ground turkey, ground beef, and even some ground pork (I stopped eating veal 20 years ago for ethical reasons). I made the meatballs with beef and pork for me and made a seperate batch for the turkey ones.

My meatballs were definitely richer and tastier than the turkey variety. I ate less spaghetti because my meatballs were more satisfying. I felt I had reached that Italian authenticity I was hoping for, while my husband was still able to have his own preference. It was a success all around.

Now if only I'd had some chianti last night. It would have been perfect.

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