food. family. life.

spanish-style spicy turkey polpette

It’s school season here  in Southwest Florida, the girls started school late August and the rushing around has begin already.

From our 4:45 am wake up alarm Monday through Friday for Isabella’s introduction to 9th grade freshman year, to the erratic college class and work schedule Carina now has, we sometimes are not sure yet whether we are coming or going.

This is also hurricane season a time where preparing foods ahead of time is sensible and more than necessary.

This season is when I begin to prepare food and meals in advance, healthy options that we all love that I call “fast food”; food that freezes well and lasts in the fridge for a few days, even options where the flavors improve over time.

We all pack a lunch, so these prepared dishes allow us to customize our lunch options as well as have dinner on the table in 15 minutes flat.

We love to create our own favorite tapas style dinners, small bites filled with flavor that inspire us to create new ideas for the next tapas meal.

This is a healthy ground turkey polpette dish I found in my research but I decided to add a Spanish tapas style feel to this by adding cumin (in small doses!), dried red chili pepper flakes to taste and a delicious grating of Manchego cheese (or you can use grated Romano cheese instead.)

You can serve these in a smaller shape on skewers with my roasted tomato sauce or make them larger and eat them like a traditional polpette or even sandwich style.

We loved the flavor profile and the girls found a variety of ways to enjoy these, even straight out of the fridge as Dan loves to do!

Happy Monday to all and have a fabulous week.cucinadimammina_spanish spicy turkey polpette-13

spanish-style spicy turkey polpette


2 lbs. ground fresh turkey (purchase this freshly ground if possible and ask for white and dark meat blend for best flavor and to keep them moist)

3 medium organic eggs (slightly beaten)

1/2 tsp or so of ground cumin

1 to 2 cloves fresh minced garlic (or you can use dehydrated garlic to taste)

1 tsp or so Spanish smokey sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

dried red chili pepper flakes to taste

3/4 cup or so of fresh parsley, chopped finely

small handful of finely chopped Spanish red onion (sauteed lightly in olive oil until tender, NOT browned)

toasted fresh plain bread crumbs, finely ground (about a handful or two)

2/3 cup grated manchego cheese (OR grated romano cheese)

chicken stock or milk, if needed

finely chopped Spanish olives stuffed with pimento (approx 6-8 olives or to taste)

sea salt & black pepper

glass of white wine

roasted tomato sauce


vine ripe plum tomatoes (about 8 to 10 )

olive oil

fresh garlic cloves (peeled and chunked)

fresh basil leaves

sea salt and pepper

for the roasted tomato sauce

Wash and dry the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Place them on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil generously and season with sea salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes on broil in your oven until they start to get toasty and the aroma permeates your casa.

At the last few minutes of cooking sprinkle the chunked garlic over the tomatoes and allow to cook until softened. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and once cooled, pulse in a food processor to blend and achieve a delicious chunky sauce.

for the polpette

Add the first eleven (11 ingredients) into a large wide bowl and blend gently until the egg has incorporated well. Let this rest for about a minute or two and if the mixture is too wet, add a bit more plain breadcrumb, if the mixture is too dry add a splash of stock or milk. Add the chopped olives and season with sea salt and pepper ( use a light hand with the sea salt as the cheese and the olives are very well salted!)

The final mixture must come together easily, be soft but hold it’s shape fairly well. In large skillet or dutch oven-style pan, drizzle a small amount of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Place on medium heat and shape the mixture into smaller or more traditional style polpette (meatballs.) Allow these to brown well; resist the urge to move them or turn them too soon as they will fall apart easily.

Turn them until they are golden brown all around and then add in the glass of white wine and saute on medium low heat until done (the wine will reduce and leave a delicious coating of flavor on the polpette; break one in half to be sure these are completely cooked through with NO pink at all.)

Remove the polpette from the pan and serve immediately with the roasted tomato sauce or allow them to cool and store in the fridge or freezer for later enjoyment.

Note: Photography by Annette Venditti
Buon Appetito!

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