Use Canned Turkey For Flavorful Meatballs In A Pinch

Canned food often has the unfair reputation of being bland and boring, but that's far from the truth. It has a surprising flexibility that allows all kinds of ingredient pairings, opening up a world of unexplored potential. This is especially true for canned turkey. Given the proper upgrades, canned turkey can be turned into a versatile range of dishes with the added benefit of a lengthy shelf life. Meatballs are a shining example — try incorporating it into one of our top meatball recipes.

While fresh meat will always be a top choice for baked turkey meatballs, canned turkey is not without its merit; the best of which are convenience and ease of preparation. It is readily available and has a relatively long shelf life. You can keep it in the pantry and just pop it open whenever the need arises. This makes it an excellent choice for all those budget-friendly, spontaneous meals that you can put together without too much hassle.

Practicality aside, this switch is also a fun, different way to enjoy meatballs for those who have gotten tired of the same old taste. Flavor-wise, canned turkey is distinctively savory and rich with a salty undertone like most canned foods tend to have. Unlike beef, which is deep and, at times, intense, canned turkey is light on the palate yet still flavorful. Spruced up with herbs, spices, and any other condiments that your heart desires, there's no doubt the kind of wonder your turkey meatballs will bring to the meal.

Tips for delicious canned turkey meatballs

While relatively simple in nature, substituting raw turkey with the canned equivalent requires an extra step. Be sure to drain all of the liquid that the canned turkey is soaked in and give it a good rinse to remove some of the sodium. While binders such as eggs and flour are not always necessary in traditional meatballs, they're an absolute must with canned turkey to keep the flaky, slightly dry meat together. You can also use cheeses such as ricotta or parmesan to both bind the ingredients together and add a melty delight to each bite.

Canned food in general can be quite flat and one-dimensional in taste, so seasoning is key in achieving the perfect meatballs. It's crucial to take the meat's pre-existent salty tone into consideration and stick to a safe amount of spices. Don't forget to also use aromatics such as oregano, basil, garlic, onion, etc. to give the meatballs a more complex fragrance. One more important thing to note is that ​​the turkey has already been cooked and preserved through the canning process. Therefore, it would require less time in the oven or on the pan than regular, raw turkey. Just ensure that the meat is thoroughly heated and the remaining components — such as the sauce, the cheese, the gravy, or other things — reach the desired consistency.