Sunday, July 27, 2008

Loves Meatballs

It is always tragic when the world loses a vibrant, creative, caring, talented person when they are still young. If you are younger than 30, then Sherry Cermak might have seemed old, not young, but from where I'm sitting she was a spring chicken and should still be with us blogging at What Did You Eat and saving cats and rescuing wildlife and being an inspiration to many. She was such a good writer and often made one smile. Unfortunately, a sudden heart attack took her a week ago. As a tribute, some bloggers are cooking things from her blog in her honor and posting today.

In going through her blog, there were lots of good recipes to choose from, but she mentioned that she loves meatballs. Indeed, there were quite a few good meatball recipes, too. I chose a recent post of meatballs that evoke some of the flavors and fragrance of Thanksgiving. They are easy to make, cook quickly, and are fairly healthy, too.

Anyone who knows me well knows I love turkey. I could probably eat it every night for a month and not be tired of it. Since Sweetie doesn't share my super enthusiasm for anything turkey, we have it in one form or another about once a week. These meatballs let turkey shine by staying simple. The original recipe on Sherry's blog called for a sauce using fresh or frozen cranberries and she said her sauce looked like nail polish :) Seems that the frozen cranberries I though I had are not in the freezer, so I substituted some ripe plums, keeping the skins on to approximate the tart sweetness of cranberries. I also left all of the sugar out of the sauce, which helped keep it tart.

The onions and celery, fresh oregano and salt and pepper add just enough flavor since turkey can be bland. The egg and bread crumbs hold it all together. The savory goodness of the meatballs made a great counterpoint to the sweet-tart sauce which uses fresh orange juice along with the plums. I also cooked extra onions and kept a tablespoon of them to put in the sauce...sort of tied it all together.

Here's to you Sherry! You are missed.

Herbed Turkey Meatballs With Plum Sauce
A variation of a recipe from What Did You Eat


2 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
1 yellow onion, finely chopped, divided
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh diced plums, peels left on

Make the meatballs

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and sauté two minutes. Set aside 1-2 tablespoons of the onions. Add the celery to the pan and continue to sauté’ until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon into a bowl and let cool. Set the pan aside.
Add the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, oregano, salt and pepper to the cooled onion mixture, and mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Shape the mixture into 12 meatballs and arrange on the prepared baking sheet.

Cook the meatballs and make the sauce.

Bake the meatballs until opaque throughout, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the fry pan and combine the orange juice, and plums in the fry pan and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until the juice comes to a boil and the fruit is warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide the meatballs among dinner plates, spoon the plum sauce over them and serve immediately. Serves 3- 4.


  1. I would never have guessed that was not cranberries if you hadn't said so. It looks so good - this is one of the recipes I considered making from Sher, and it seems to have been a popular choice for others as well.

  2. I also made one of the many meatball recipes she posted about. She will definitely be missed!

  3. She was the queen of meatballs. I'm terribly sad with the news as well, Elle.

  4. What a great and thoughtful post Elle. Sher was taken way too early. Her loss is profound.

  5. What a nice way to celebrate Sher.

  6. Her meatballs were very popular, and I'm sure she would like the plum sauce you made. Beautiful!

  7. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Sher and meatballs sure went together, didn't they? Great tribute!