Stuffed Thanksgiving Meatballs

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hopefully you've all enjoyed a long weekend at home after a great Thanksgiving dinner with your friends and family! If you didn't get a chance to partake in the madness in somebody's kitchen on Thursday, you can read all about how my day went, in my previous post. I could spend all weekend posting my Thanksgiving recipes (and I will, promise), but I know what's on everybody's mind right now: How to get rid of leftovers! If you're like me, you've probably already made a soup, possibly even a pot pie, and maybe you decided your diet was shot to hell and decided to fry the macaroni & cheese. But what to do with that gigantic casserole dish full of dressing? Whether somebody messed up the stuffing this year and it's sitting in the back of your fridge, never to be spoken of again, or if you just made too much and can't bear the thought of throwing out good food - I have a solution for you. Make some Thanksgiving meatballs out of leftover dressing, turkey and mashed sweet potatoes, stuffed with cheese. I ladled warm gravy over my meatballs and served them with fresh cranberry sauce. This reminded me of the Swedish meatballs & lingonberry sauce from Ikea! No, I'm not counting calories this weekend. Don't judge me. Let's just dive right into this, shall we?

Stuffed Thanksgiving Meatballs

2 c. leftover stuffing or dressing
1 c. cooked turkey
1 small sweet potato, baked & mashed
1/2 c. cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 egg
Chopped fresh herbs
Splash of milk or cream (if needed)
Dry breadcrumbs (if needed)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. warmed gravy

Servings: 6 - 8 large meatballs
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Equipment needed: Skillet, oven-proof dish

Notes: It goes without saying that the flavors of your stuffing will dictate how this all comes together. Mine was made with French bread, Linguica sausage, fennel & apples. Rule of thumb - if it went well with the turkey & gravy on your plate, it'll be even more awesome rolled up around a block of cheese and fried in butter. That's basic chemistry. Somebody on Instagram asked if this would work with leftover cornbread. Most likely yes, but you will need to increase the liquid ingredients (essentially turning your cornbread into stuffing.) I chose to add chopped thyme & rosemary, and the cheese I had on hand was Fontina, leftover from my mac & cheese. Any melting cheese like cheddar, Monterrey Jack, or Muenster would work nicely. I liked the distinct nuttiness of the Fontina, especially because I served these with cranberry sauce. If you don't have mashed sweet potatoes then use regular mashed white potatoes. Or just leave it out, these will still taste good! For the turkey, I used breast meat but dark meat is fine, likewise chicken, goose or duck would also work.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Lightly beat the egg. In a large bowl, break up your stuffing into smaller pieces if it had big chunks of bread. Finely chop your turkey meat, and add that to the bowl along with the mashed potatoes.

Add the egg and a good couple pinches of fresh herbs. You're going to get your hands dirty. The best way to incorporate all the ingredients is to squeeze them through your fingers. If you can roll it up into a meatball that stays together and isn't too sticky, you're good. If it cracks or crumbles, you need a splash of cream. If it all sticks to your hand, you need to add some bread crumbs.

Once you've got the right consistency, mash a scoop into the palm of your hand about an inch thick. Place a block of cheese in the center.

Gently squeeze your hand closed to bring the sides of the meatball up and around the cheese. When it's formed into a bowl as seen below, pinch the top closed and roll the meatball between your hands to round out the shape.

Melt the butter in olive oil together over medium heat. Gently pan fry the meatballs, rolling them around so that they are evenly browned on all sides.

Transfer the meatballs to an oven proof baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. You can test one to make sure the cheese is completely melted inside.

You thought that was it, right? carb feeding frenzy stuck again and this time, I used up some leftover mac & cheese.

This is why you're fat. 

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  1. Hey! I featured this recipe on my blog about what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers.