Ethics compels me to disclose I subscribe to Gwenyth Paltrow’s weekly email newsletter, GOOP. Why you may ask? Why does a gen-X, Chicano Studies professor subscribe to a newsletter filled with uninterrogated, class-based advice from the NY-London elite? Well, if you tasted her turkey meatballs you wouldn’t be asking.
That said, Gwenny recently offered some advice for her former co-star Joaquin Phoenix, free-of-charge and off the GOOP trail. If you don’t know what he’s been up to, then, well, really, you’ve been missing out on most of the comedic references in mainstream popular culture for two months now, haven’t you? Short story is the man has quit acting to become a rap star–a bearded, drug-induced, rap star. Is he for reals or just putting on an act? Nobody seems to know.
Said Paltrow of her gruffy friend, “What advice would I give to Joaquin? Hmmm…maybe to go live in the projects for a few years to get some authenticity, maybe.”
Again, she turned me on to some super tasty turkey meatballs, so I hesitate to encourage the closing of the trap lest it inadvertently halt some other tasty advice in the future, but, Gwenny, we have enough problems in poor communities of color without having to teach eccentric, Hollywood stars how to be “authentic” rappers.
So you can keep him.
Tasty Turkey Meatballs (from Paltrow’s friend “Julie”)
I made some improvements to it but the heart of her recipe is below.
- olive oil
- 1-2 large onions, finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
- coarse sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1-28 oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand or by toes
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 pound ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly torn
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion ( about 1.5 to 2 cups) and “sweat” it (soften it without giving it too much color). When it’s soft, add the garlic and fennel seeds and season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté while stirring constantly (you don’t want to brown or burn the garlic). Remove and reserve half of this onion mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes and their juice to the remaining mixture in the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer while you make the meatballs.
In the mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, parsley, thyme and rosemary with the reserved onion mixture. Add the turkey and egg and mix by hand. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt and a bit more pepper. You might add some more breadcrumbs, too, just enough to keep it all together.
Shape the mixture into jawbreaker-sized meatballs. Round them as best as you can. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the meatballs. I kind of shake and roll them as they cook, being sure not to let them settle flat onto the skillet. Put the browned meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce and let them cook for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour and a half.
Serve with pasta or as is, topped with torn basil.