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Crockpot Turkey Meatballs


Is there anything better than spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on a cold, autumn evening? These simmer all day so the only thing you have to do is cook the pasta (or polenta) when you get home. If you’re doing these during the week, follow the directions through step 6 the night before, then finish in the morning.

Serves 4-6 (makes 24 meatballs)

1 medium yellow onion

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons olive oil + extra for searing

salt, to taste

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes

2 tablespoons very finely chopped basil leaves

1 tablespoon very finely chopped parsley leaves

1 egg

⅓ cup lightly packed finely grated parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 pound ground dark meat turkey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Grate the onion on a box grater (leaving the extra liquid behind) and use a microplane to grate the garlic (or you can mince it by hand).

2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the onion is just starting to brown.

3. Add a large pinch of salt, the chili flakes, and fennel seeds, and cook another 3 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

4. Transfer half of this mixture to a large bowl, add the canned tomatoes, and use your hands to crush them a bit.

5. Add the rest of onion mixture to another bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix everything together.

6. Shape the mixture into 24 golf-ball-size meatballs.

7. Heat the sauté pan over medium high heat, add a splash of olive oil, and begin searing the meatballs, just to brown them a bit.

8. As you brown the meatballs, transfer to the crockpot and continue with the next batch. When all the meatballs are browned and in the crockpot, pour over the tomato sauce and set the crockpot to the slow cook low setting. Cook for 6 hours.

9. Serve over polenta, with homemade focaccia, or with spaghetti.