Recipe by Gina Farina
I got this recipe from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and I love it because it is hearty but not fatty, extremely flavorful, and easily adaptable to large crowds -- not to mention unique, delicious and healthy! You can substitute any meat for the turkey. I'm not a mint lover so I usually do a little more parsley than mint. Don't let the length of the recipe fool you...it's mostly just spices. Serve this when you want to impress company while making an easy meal!
- 1 lb ground turkey (uncooked)
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumb (unseasoned)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 8 tablespoons chopped of fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinse and drained
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced to 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 (14 ounce) can plum tomatoes, drained with juice reserved (Roma)
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Meatballs: In a bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, half the garlic, 3 Tsp of mint, parsley, paprika, cumin, cloves, cayenne, the 3/4 teaspoons salt and the 1/2 tsp black pepper. Mix well. Divide the mixture into 24 equal portions and form each into a meatball. Place on a baking sheet (cover with foil to speed clean up) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, remove and discard any damaged lentils or stones. Rinse the lentils. Set aside. (Soaking lentils in water will speed up their cooking time. If you do, drain them before cooking).
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and the remaining garlic and saute, stirring until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, 1 cup of the reserved tomato juice and the chicken stock and simmer gently, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Keep tasting the lentils to make sure they are cooked enough.
- Chop enough tomatoes to measure 1 cup; reserve the remaining tomatoes for another meal. Add the meatballs and chopped tomatoes to the lentils and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, or increase the heat by adding more cayenne (or hot paprika if you have some).
- Ladle into bowls, garnish with remaining 5 Tblsps of mint (or parsley) and serve.