Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stuffed Pepper Jack Cheese Meatballs with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

In my opinion, good, old-fashioned, homemade meatballs will always beat pre-made, frozen, store-bought ones any day of the week.  I mostly find my statement to be true because I know that the ingredients are always fresh and not processed and then frozen.  I'm aware that making your own meatballs may be a bit more time consuming then just buying them, but the quality and taste alone, is well worth the effort. 

This particular recipe however, is not your 'grandma's' meatball.  It's actually a meatball with a kick; or as some people might say, 'It's a spicy meat-a-ball.'  So, if you're feeling the desire to stray away from the norm, and get a little 'hot' along the way, then grab a fork because this recipe is a MUST try!

Stuffed Pepper Jack Cheese Meatballs with a Spicy Tomato Sauce
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For the Meatballs:
1 lb. Andouille sausage, casting removed
1 lb. Italian Sausage, casting removed
2 cups sourdough bread, torn into bite-size, small pieces
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, minced
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 TBSP. creole seasoning
1 TBSP. garlic powder
1 TBSP. oregano
1 TBSP. onion powder
½ tsp. black pepper
Dash of red cayenne pepper
1-8 oz. block of pepper jack cheese, cubed

For the sauce:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato paste
28 oz. tomato sauce
½ lb. lean ground turkey
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. creole seasoning
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups chicken broth

For the meatballs:
In a large bowl, add all the ingredients listed, excluding the cheese.  Now, using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix together the ingredients until well combined. 

Once ready, shape the meatballs by rolling them in your hand until desired size is reached.  (Mine fit nicely into the palm of my hand, but were not too large.  If you’re unsure, a ¼ dry measuring cup may help with this step.  Fill the cup with the meat and then roll into a meatball.)  Next, using your thumb, press a hole in the center of the meatball and stuff in a cheese square, and then make sure to recover the hole by pushing the meat back over the top of the cheese.

Place 4 TBSP. of olive oil in a large skillet, over a medium heat and add the meatballs.  Allow the meatballs to brown on all sides and cook through.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  (You may need to complete this in shifts, as all meatballs might not fit into the skillet at once.)

For the Sauce:
In a large sauce pan, over a medium heat, add in 2 tsp. olive oil and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, then add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds-1 minute.  After that, add in the ground turkey and cook it until it’s no longer pink and the juices run clear.  Add all the seasonings to the pot and mix well until everything is combined

After the turkey has been coated with the seasonings add in the tomato paste and stir until combined with the meat.  Next, add in the tomato sauce and the chicken broth.  Stir the sauce around until all the ingredients are blended.  After that, allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently place the meatballs into the pot.  Cover and let cook for 30-40 minutes, making sure to occasionally remove the lid a stir around.
This meal is great served over pasta, with a slice of garlic bread, and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese!      

Source: Slightly adapted from Creole Contessa


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