Fragrant Orange-Cardamom Turkey Meatballs

Fragrant Orange-Cardamom Turkey Meatballs: The flavors of orange and cardamom combine to delicately flavor both these turkey meatballs and an easy pan sauce to serve over rice or noodles.

These mildly sweet and subtly spiced meatballs are flavored with fresh orange and ground cardamom. It's a wonderful flavor combination for livening up the rather bland taste of ground turkey. We repeated the flavors in an easy orange juice-based pan sauce to coat the meatballs and served them over Basmati Rice with Sautéed Cabbage (recipe included).

Fragrant Orange-Cardamom Turkey Meatballs

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice, divided
  • Zest of 1 orange (less the 1 teaspoon for meatballs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup chopped orange segments
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, panko crumbs and orange zest. Using your hands, mix well, then form into 1-1/4 inch balls.

Heat the oil over medium heat and add the meatballs, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning with tongs, then transfer to an oven-proof baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Place them in the oven to finish cooking, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until soft and translucent, 3 minutes. Add the orange juice, orange zest, cardamom and chopped orange segments. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer and season with salt and pepper. Add the cornstarch and continue cooking until thickened, 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Once the meatballs are cooked through, add them to the sauce and turn to coat. Serve over Basmati Rice with Sautéed Cabbage (instructions follow), plain steamed rice or egg noodles and garnish with the chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings

Basmati Rice with Cabbage
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups cabbage, finely shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground nutmeg

In a small saucepan, combine the basmati rice, water and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

While the rice cooks, heat the oil and the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage and cook until wilted, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a few grinds of nutmeg.

Gently combine the cabbage and rice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Makes 4 servings

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